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© W. S. CO. 1950 





JN vJ HOME can be thoroughly success- 
ful unless it combines four basic essentials: 
good design, efficient plan, right material 
and sound construction. A home may be 
large or small, elaborate or inexpensive. It 
may be attractively finished and it may 
boast of every modern convenience and 
labor-saving device, yet without all four 
of these essentials it can never be a per- 
manent, substantial and satisfactory home. 
THE PURPOSE of this book is to treat in 
simple terms the construction principles 
and practices that will help to make your 
house a substantial home. It will show you 
the means of judging the construction of 
your home as it is being built; assist you in 
avoiding endless annoyances and excessive 
maintenance costs. To the home builder 
who retains the services of an architect, 
this book can offer little more than an appre- 
ciation for the value of his services. They 
insure correct design, carefully prepared 
specifications and intelligent supervision. 

If you build without the services of an 
architect be sure that your house is struc- 
turally correct. This book will equip you 
with information which will qualify you to 
identify good construction and help you to 
protect your interests. While details of 
construction vary in different localities and 
with different builders, the principles are 
the same. The better contractors and work- 
men are thoroughly familiar with approved 
building practices. 

FAILURE to recognize the importance of 
good construction, or to assume that con- 
struction standards of all builders are the 
same, often results in trouble. Saving a few 
nails at the cost of squeaking floors, saving 
a little labor and material at the expense of 
excessive fuel bills and repair costs, is an 
expensive economy. With an understand- 
ing of good construction and by insisting 
upon it, anyone may enjoy the comforts of 
a permanent, economical home. 



Courtesy Samuel Chamberlain 

/^r? ■%» 


SEVERAL YEARS ago in a small 
Illinois city, a Dutch Colonial house just 
completed, created a great deal of favor- 
able comment. Couples of all ages exclaimed 
about it as they passed. Even the town's 
most stolid citizens were taken with its 
quaintness and simplicity. Those who had 
been inside of it marveled at the conven- 
ience of its interior arrangement. Here at 
last was a sensible, easily-kept house, good 
looking outside and in; with apparently 
every convenience necessary to appeal to the 
popular fancy. 

The outside was finished with hand split 
shakes and the house was framed with lum- 
ber as are the great majority of houses, 
whether their exterior finish be of wood, 
stucco or brick veneer. 

A few years later this house was offered 
for sale at what seemed to be a very rea- 
sonable price. The "For Sale" column of the 
newspaper carried the usual list of appoint- 
ments and conveniences. There was a sun 
room and a breakfast nook in addition to 
six other rooms and bath. Of built-in fea- 
tures there were many — built-in bookcases, 
linen closet, kitchen cabinets, recessed 
refrigerator, a game room. These alone 
would have sold the house. The bed rooms 
were finished in white enamel; the closets 
large; the floor of hardwood. In the base- 
ment there were stationary tubs, vegetable 
room, the latest type of automatic water 
heater and a hot water heating plant. And 

to top it all off there was an attractive gar- 
dened treatment in the rear. 

A Mr. Wieland later confessed that for 
two years he had admired this house and 
wanted one like it. He had a wife and two 
small children.- The house -exactly fitted 
their needs. He had saved enough money 
to purchase it. 

He began to worry lest the house be sold 
before he could get to it, yet he was deterred 
from closing the deal on the spot, as he 
relates the incident, by the suggestion of his 
wife that it might be wise to get an old 
friend of the family, a retired contractor, 
to look over the house with him before the 
money was paid over. 

The following day, Wieland, who was 
already picturing his shins toasting before 
an open log fire in the cozy living room, 
hustled the contractor through the house, 
pointing out its many virtues and taking 
for granted that his friend could not be 
anything but favorably impressed. The first 


intimation he had that his friend did not 
share his enthusiasm came when the con- 
tractor bluntly remarked that the house 
was one of the "short-life, quick-deprecia- 
tion variety." He added that in his opinion 
it would be an expense at half the price. 
Then, just for good measure, he proceeded 
to prove his statement. 

Let us see just what happened — the 
information might be enlightening to the 
home-builder and to the neophyte in house 
buying as well. 

In the basement where before the light- 
hearted prospective purchaser had seen only 
the beautiful laundry and the handsome 
game room, Mr. Michaels pointed out that 
the floor was damp and that the walls fairly 
dripped with moisture. Lack of rain lead- 
ers and improper drainage around the 
foundation wall were cited as the cause. 
Next, a small crack in the front founda- 
tion wall which had gone unnoticed on the 
first trip was called to Wieland's attention. 
It had undoubtedly developed because of 
uneven settling in the footings under the 
foundation. Sam Michaels explained that 
by digging down so as to expose these foot- 
ings, it would be found they were either 

.■* — ■ 

too small or made of a poor concrete mix- 
ture. What's more, he added, the settling 
would undoubtedly continue, the crack in 
the wail would grow larger and spread to 
the plastered wall overhead if it had not 
already done so. 

THE CONTRACTOR found a streak of 
daylight around the basement sash frames. 
He pictured big fuel bills and a draughty 
basement. Mr. Michaels also explained that 
the bearing post should have been set up a 
few inches off the floor to prevent deteri- 
oration resulting from the absorption of 
moisture. He showed Wieland a crack in 
the basement floor indicating that there had 
been further skimping in the concrete mix. 

Wieland was surprised to learn that the 
length of the floor joists was partly respon- 
sible for squeaking floors. In this house the 
joists were 2x8, but the span was 14 feet. 
For such a span 2x10 joists should have been 
used. Therefore the joists had already begun 
to sag, causing loosening of nails in the floor. 
Sure enough when Wieland later walked 
on the floor above, he heard the squeak 
which the contractor had predicted. 

The wood braces criss-crossed between 
the joists also caught Michaels' attention. 
The nails were only partly driven, and the 
pieces were not securely fastened. Wieland 
was informed that bridging, to be of any 
use, must be carefully fitted and tightly 

While they stood looking up at the floor 
joists, the contractor observed that it would 
have been much better to lay the sub- 
floor diagonally with the joists. As it was, 

both the sub-floor and the finish flooring 
ran in the same direction, with the inevi- 
table result that cracks and waves would 
be found in the finished floor. They 
ascended the cellar steps. The contractor 
opened the outside kitchen door, and they 
stepped out on the sagging stoop. Michaels 
said that sagging was caused by footings of 
insufficient depth. 

THEY RETURNED to the kitchen, and 
the contractor slammed the door shut with 
a bang. The door flew open again, the latch 
having refused to hold. With a cynical 
smile that seemed to anticipate this very 
occurrence, the contractor closed the door 
again, this time carefully and lifting it 
slightly. The latch caught; the door stayed 
closed. Wieland learned that the cause of 
the door's misbehavior could be laid to the 
sagging of the door frame and that this 
could be traced to the uneven settling of 
the wall due to those faulty footings of the 

Throughout their inspection of the first 
floor rooms, Michaels was busy pointing 
out opened joints in the woodwork, warped 
doors, stained and cracked plaster; defects 
which had had little significance to Wieland. 
Special attention was drawn to water marks 
under the window and white spots on the 
varnished floor beneath the window, caused 
by rain driving in between the window sill 
and stool. Dust streaks on the plastered 
walls around the window casings suggested 
draughty windows and excessive fuel bills. 
CRACKS in the plaster over the arch 

between the living and dining rooms told 
a story of misdirected economy. Under- 
sized framing material, lack of trussing and 
improper construction were hidden behind 
the plaster over this opening. 

After Michaels had vainly endeavored to 
raise one of the windows, he made his way 
in disgust to the front door. On their way 
up town, he summed up his observations: 
"Wieland, this house is a good example of 
almost everything a house ought to be 
except the one thing that gives it long life 
and comfort. Cheating on the construction 
of a house is like robbing a child of its 
health. I was a builder myself, and I'm 
against this kind of shoddy, unworkmanlike 
construction because it makes a lot of 
unsuspecting house buyers lose confidence 
in the, trade. 

"A man buys a house like this one once 
— - then if excessive fuel bills and repair 
costs and depreciation haven't taken all his 
money, he builds one and builds it right. 
Do you know that you can build a home 
that is structurally correct and which con- 
tains all the attractive features you liked 
in this one for no more than the price of 
that horrible example we just left?" 

I r 


N y 


THE INCIDENT just related is an iso- 
lated one, yet the house described is, with 
some variations, like "Main Street," to be 
found in almost every village, town and 
city in the country. What is the cause of 
this condition — is house buying or home- 
building really such a gamble? The answer 
is not complicated, rather it is very simple. 

A well-known contractor said that the 
chief breeder of shoddy structures, unwar- 
ranted repair bills and short-lived houses, 
is the lack of appreciation of the value of 
right construction in house building on 
the part of the owner. The average man 
purchases a pair of shoes and judges them 
by the amount of wear he can get out of 
them. In buying a motor car he will inquire 
about the engine, the brakes, the gas con- 
sumption and other details. Then let this 
same purchaser start out to build a house. 

Immediately he discards his old purchas- 
ing habits. The manner in which the house 
is built is apparently of little moment to 
him. The completed house must look well. 
Aside from that, anybody's construction 
standards will do as long as they will give 
him the house he wants in the shortest pos- 

sible time and at the least cost. Here is the 
biggest purchase of a lifetime — the one 
which he knows least about, the one which 
undoubtedly means most to him, the one 
that will be with him the longest — treated 
as an insignificant article on the bargain 

LITTLE WONDER that there is a class 
of builders with low prices their principal 
stock in trade — with construction stand- 
ards of questionable merit. It is not the 
intention to imply that the lavish spending 
of money is necessary to insure the owner 
a satisfactory home. There are economies 
that can be and should be practiced in 
house building. The legitimate contractor 
knows these economies and knows how to 
apply them properly. 

It is well for any prospective builder to 
bear in mind that the history of a house is 
written not alone on the first purchase price 
but also on future maintenance cost. Fifty 
dollars saved today by cheapening the con- 
struction of a house may return as a "five- 
times- $50" repair bill in a short time. This 
book is presented to assist you in recogniz- 
ing good construction and in obtaining per- 
manent satisfaction. 


For the guidance of those who may not be familiar 
with construction practice or the names given to the 
various framing members in a house, the house above 
is shown in this book in five different stages of con- 
struction, on this page and on pages 18, 22, 3 5 and 

It is the purpose of this series of drawings to show 
the successive steps in the building of a house of the 
improved Balloon Frame type, and to identify for the 
builder the different members and parts of the struc- 
ture referred to in the text that follows. 

If some of the detail drawings in this book are not 
altogether clear, a reference to this series of draw- 
ings will be found helpful. 

With a little observation of houses under construc- 
tion, the building of a house will be readily under- 







J- ilJtL LAYMAN who views a half -finished house is often confused with its 
maze of framing and scaffolding. House building is not difficult to understand. 
A house has comparatively few main parts, and its erection is not complicated. 
CONSIDER this simple grouping of the principal parts of a house frame: the 
foundation; the floor frame work, consisting of bearing posts, girders and joists; 
the walls and partitions built of studding; and the roof. All other framing mem- 
bers are incidental to one or another of these parts. 

On the following pages, you will find examples of proved construction meth- 
ods with engineering data for correct house building. You will find also some il- 
lustrations of poor building practices. An inspection of these illustrations will point 
out the importance of building correctly. 


THE PURPOSE of the founda- 
tion is to support the house. This statement 
may seem superfluous, perhaps ridiculous. 

Yet there are many houses in which 
defects are traceable to foundations that 
have failed to perform their full duty. It 
still holds true that a house is no stronger 
than its foundation. 

Concrete blocks, poured concrete, brick 
and stone are the materials used for founda- 
tions; all are satisfactory when properly 

Concrete, however, is not a synonym for 
permanency; there is good concrete and 
there is bad concrete. The strength of con- 
crete for foundations is dependent upon the 
use of well-washed sand and gravel, mixed 
in proper proportions with cement and 
water. It is important that concrete should 
be prepared and applied under experienced 

There has been a tendency to cheapen 
foundation walls by making them thinner 
than they should be. The thickness of 
foundation walls is a matter usually gov- 
erned by local building codes. These codes, 
and likewise good practice, require walls at 
least eight inches thick, and in the case of 
stone or brick walls, sixteen inches thick. 


FOUNDATION walls are enlarged at their 
base in order to furnish a larger bearing 
surface against the soil beneath. This 
enlarged base is termed "footing." One 
can readily see that the footings are an 
important part of the foundation, and par- 
ticular attention should be paid to their size 

and shape. In the house where cheapness is 
the paramount issue, the footings are fre- 
quently slighted. It is apparent to the reader 
that these footings, which must bear most 
of the weight of the structure, should be 
carried down to firm ground and below the 
frost line. The folly of placing them on 
frozen ground is likewise readily seen. 

No end of house ills and annoyances result 
from improper footings. Poor footings 
cause uneven settling of the foundation 
wails, and this in turn is transmitted to the 
whole house, throwing it out of plumb. The 
damage is visible inside the house in the 
form of cracked basement walls, cracked 
plaster on the upper floor walls, binding 
doors and windows and sloping floors. Joints 
in the woodwork will be forced open both 
inside and outside the house. Nor are these 
all the evils that can be ascribed to faulty 
footings and uneven settling of the walls. 
The pitch of the gutters may be altered, 
causing water to back up instead of flow- 
ing off. Considerable expense may be in- 
volved in redecorating. This annoyance will 
continue with every thaw or heavy rain 
until the gutters are repaired or rebuilt. 
Proper precautions will forestall the house 
weaknesses described above and provide a 
firm base for the superstructure. 

Often footings that are correct in every 
way are undermined to permit the entrance 
of service connections and rain leaders. This 
weakens the footings at this spot and may 
result in some of the house ills just men- 
tioned. At the places where it is necessary 
to undermine footings, they should be either 
enlarged or, better still, reinforced with steel 



# The importance of the footings under 
the foundation wall and bearing posts is 
apparent in the accompanying illustration. 
Properly designed footings are shown at 
points A and B. Note the broad, flat bear- 
ing surfaces of these footings. To support 
the weight of the structure above, all foot- 
ings should rest upon firm ground. 

"With so many sizes and weights of 
houses and with such a disparity in the 
bearing power of various soils, it stands 
to reason that one size, of footing is not 
suitable for all conditions. 

However, it has been found that for the 
small house with average soil conditions 
the foundation wall footings (Point B) 
should extend at least four inches beyond 
the wall on both sides and should be at 
least eight inches deep. Likewise, it is a 
good rule to make the bearing post foot- 
ings (Point A) from eight to twelve inches 
deep and from eighteen to twenty-four 
inches square, depending on the load to be 
carried and soil condition. 

When the foundation is built in damp 
soil, the site should be drained with four- 
inch drain tile around the outside of the 
footings. This should be connected with 
the sewer or other drainage system. 

In excessively damp soil, if a dry base- 
ment is to be assured, it is well to water- 
proof the outside of the foundation wall. 

• This illustration shows the inevitable 
result of inadequate footings under the 
foundation wall, a construction fault com- 
mon in many houses. 



THE foundation supports the outside walls 
and the weight of about half of the floor 
area. The remainder of the weight of the 
house is dependent upon the bearing posts 
for support. The bearing post footings 
should, therefore, not be neglected. Care 
should be exercised to see that trenches for 
water and sewer pipes are not dug close to 
these footings, as this will have a weaken- 
ing effect on them. 

When bearing posts settle unduly, the 
effect is apparent throughout the house. 
Plaster cracks appear on the inside walls, 
doors and windows become balky, and 
floors settle at the inner walls. The annoy- 
ances that result from uneven floors are 
familiar to everybody. 

Figures El and E2, under "Standard De- 
tails For House Construction," in rear of 
this section, show correct ways of building 
footings for foundation walls and bearing 


WORKMEN who would not slight the 
footings under the foundation walls or 
those under the bearing posts sometimes fail 
to realize the importance of the porch piers 
and their footings. The porch piers are put 
in for the very practical purpose of sup- 
porting the porch; a sagging porch will 
surely result if the piers are not properly 
"rooted." Probably no one thing gives a 
house such a run-down, "hang-dog" look as 
a "sway back" porch. And appearance, it 
must be remembered, has a direct effect on 
the resale value of the house. 

The importance of proper foundations, 
bearing posts, porch piers and their foot- 
ings cannot be too strongly emphasized, for 
any settling must of necessity affect the 
entire superstructure of the house. 








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# Sagging porches like the one here shown 
are the result of insufficient support, again 
a matter of improper footing. Sometimes 
very good porch piers settle when service 
connection trenches are dug too close to 
them and are not properly refilled. The 
condition shown in this picture is by no 
means uncommon. It can easily be avoided 
by proper attention to footings at the 
time a house is being built. In a completed 
house, it is difficult and expensive to rem- 

To avoid the heaving action of the frost, 
porch foundations should be well footed 
and should be run down below the frost 

As a business proposition it is cheaper 
to build a good house than a poor one. The 
slight additional cost of building a house 
right is made up many times over by lower 
repair costs and higher resale value. 




house has aptly been termed its skeleton, 
and its purpose obviously is to give strength 
and rigidity to the structure. It is not nec- 
essary that the prospective builder know 
all of the details of the various types of 
framing or, for that matter, the method of 
constructing the one type he chooses, but 
the owner will find an acquaintance with 
house framing invaluable in his effort to 
secure a good house. 

There are many types of house framing 
in use in various sections of the country, but 
for practical purposes, they may be grouped 
into four classes — the Braced Timber Frame, 
Modern Braced Frame, Balloon Frame, and 
Platform Frame. 


THE Braced Timber Frame is the oldest 
type and originated in New England. The 
early colonists brought with them a tra- 
dition of heavy, European half-timber con- 
struction, and this was nourished by the 
abundance of standing timber directly at 
hand. Nails had to be made by hand; there- 
fore, the early craftsmen used them spar- 
ingly, devising methods of fastening that 
consisted of mortises and tenons held to- 
gether by wooden dowel pins. 

The principal framing members of the 
old New England houses were often hewn 
out of the trees nearest at hand and were 
ordinarily of much larger dimensions than 
were required to give the necessary strength. 
The time required in those days to prepare 
the timbers necessary for the building of a 

house, as well as the time required for its 
building permitted the timbers and fram- 
ing members to dry out thoroughly before 
the building was completed. And under 
these conditions the old Braced Timber 
Frame resulted in a practically faultless 
house of which hundreds of old houses still 
standing in the eastern states today bear 


In those sections of the country where 
many of the old Braced Timber Frame 
houses still stand, a modern adaptation of 
the old Braced Timber Frame has been de- 
veloped. This type of frame is sometimes 
called the "Combination Frame." Corner 
posts and girts built up of two or three 
pieces of two-inch lumber take the place of 
the solid timbers formerly used. Nails largely 
replace mortises, tenons, and dowel pins for 
fastening. With the elimination of the 
heavy timber girts the intermediate posts 
formerly required to support them have 
been done away with, and the studs, in 
addition to furnishing bearing surfaces for 
the inside and outside walls, are utilized for 
support as well. The corner bracing, how- 
ever, is retained as is in most cases, the solid 

This Modern Braced Frame is in every 
way adaptable to modern building needs, 
yet to be thoroughly efficient should not be 
slighted in its construction. This method 
of framing is shown on page 14 — in one case 
complete as it should be built and in the 
other case only partially developed at the 
sacrifice of much of its efficiency. 



The Modern Braced Frame, constructed 
in this manner, makes an entirely satis- 
factory and efficient frame. The fire-stops 
or floor headers of two-inch lumber placed 
between the floor joists make this frame 
fire-resistant and vermin-proof, and also 
make it possible to lay the sub-floor diag- 
onally with the joists, a very important 
consideration from several standpoints, as 
will be seen later on in this book. Stops 
to the passage of fire and heat in the walls 
are afforded by the girts. Note, too, that 
the partition studs rest directly upon the 
girder, a further consideration of import- 
ance in eliminating settling due to unequal 
shrinkage in the walls and bearing parti- 


This illustration shows some common 
abuses in the construction of the Modern 
Braced Frame. Floor headers and fire 
stopping between the joists have been 
omitted. For lack of these headers the sub- 
floor has been laid at right angles to the 
joists at the expense of the rigidity of the 
structure and the success of the finished 
floor to be laid above it. The bearing par- 
titions also rest upon the sub-floor with the 
result that these inside walls will settle as 
the joists, sub-floor boards and plates dry 
out and shrink under the artificial heat 
inside the house. 




THE Balloon Frame is another modern and 
accepted type of framing applicable to the 
building of substantial houses in all parts 
of the country. As is the case in the Mod- 
ern Braced Frame, it is built almost entirely 
of two-inch lumber. Nails are also used 
for fastening in place of mortises and tenons. 
The distinguishing feature of the so-called 
Balloon Frame, however, is that the wall 
studs are made to extend up two stories 
high with the ends of the second floor joists 
spiked to their sides and resting upon a false 
girt or "ribband board" which is notched 
into them on the inside. A box sill is ordi- 
narily used with this type of framing. The 
elimination of the girts in the walls has 
required the fitting of fire-stops between the 
studs to prevent the circulation of air 
throughout the walls. Floor headers and 
fire-stops between the joists accomplish a 
similar purpose. The sub-floors are laid diag- 
onally with the joists. The bearing parti- 
tion studs rest upon the girders. Corner 
bracing is also required unless the sheathing 
is applied diagonally. 

The Balloon Frame offers the advantages 
of speed and economy. It also possesses excel- 
lent rigidity. Properly constructed, it is in 
every way to be recommended. 

It is unfortunate that so logical a type of 
framing should be so grossly abused by care- 
less builders in their over-zealous quest for 
speed and cheapness. It seems to have devel- 
oped in two diametrically opposite direc- 

tions. In the one case it has been improved 
to the point where it meets successfully all 
the demands of efficient building practice. 
In the other case it has been cheapened 
through harmful "corner-cutting" into a 
flimsy, short-lived structure. That you may 
appreciate the good points in the properly 
constructed Balloon Frame and, at the same 
time, guard against the construction abuses 
to which it is often subjected, it is shown 
in both its good and bad forms on the fol- 
lowing page. 


WITH the advent of kiln-dried framing 
lumber, the more recently developed Plat- 
form Frame has been gaining preference 
rapidly. This type of framing is unques- 
tionably the fastest and the safest form of 
good construction. Interior and exterior 
walls are framed exactly alike, thereby as- 
suring balanced shrinkage or settling if any 
occurs. Each floor is framed separately, 
with the sub-floor in place before the wall 
and partition studs are raised. All studding 
may be the same length. This permits the 
specification and use of precision manufac- 
tured, exact length, ready-to-use lumber 
products with consequent labor and waste 
saving on the job. Braced with diagonal 
sheathing, let-in bracing or steel strapping, 
the Platform Frame is adequately rigid to 
withstand severe windstorm conditions. 




• Because the Balloon Frame has qualities 
and advantages that cannot be found in 
other types, conscientious builders every- 
where have striven to build 100 per cent 
efficiency into this type of framing, with 
the result that today it is an eminently 
satisfactory frame from every standpoint. 

Wall and corner studs, continuous from 
sill to plate, make for stiffness, corner 
braces and fire-stopping in the walls and 
floors for rigidity and fire-resistance, while 
by reducing as well as equalizing as far as 
possible the amount of cross sectional lum- 
ber subject to shrinkage in the inside and 
outside walls, the problem of plaster cracks 
and other ills traceable to shrinkage is 
largely solved. 

Nor are these improvements of the kind 
that add greatly to the cost, in either time 
or material. In fact, the difference in the 
cost of a good Balloon Frame over that of 
a poor one is so small, when compared to 
the added efficiency, that it is surprising 
to find it so grossly misused. 


• This illustration shows how even the 
best method of framing a house may be 
reduced to total inefficiency by cutting 
the corners and cheapening its construc- 
tion. Unfortunately, many so-called Bal- 
loon Frame houses are constructed in this 
manner. The elimination of corner braces 
robs the structure of much of its rigidity. 
The ready circulation of air between walls 
and floors is also responsible for serious 
heat losses in the finished house. A predic- 
tion of plaster cracks, squeaking floors 
and numerous other house ills is apparent 
in this cheapened frame. 



# In this type of frame the first floor is 
built on top of the foundation walls as 
though it were a platform. The outer ends 
of the floor joists rest on a sill, of com- 
bination type, while the inner ends rest on 
an I-beam upon which has been placed 
a two-inch plank. On the floor joists is 
nailed the sub-floor, laid diagonally. 

The wall and partition framing is then 
run up another story to support another 
platform for the second floor. Again, the 
third or attic floor consists of a third plat- 
form built upon the second floor wall and 
partition framing, thus making the whole 
a series of platforms each supported by 
independent partitions. 

The platform feature of this frame 
automatically firestops the walls and par- 
titions at each floor level. The diagonal 
sub-flooring may be readily laid on each 
platform before any studs are raised, 
thereby speeding up the sub-flooring oper- 
ation and assuring the workmen a safe, 
sound floor on which to work. 

With the increasing use of kiln-dried 
framing, the Platform Frame will continue 
to gain in popularity. 

• This illustration shows the first stage 
in the construction of the house shown on 
page 8. The foundation and piers have 
been completed and the carpenter work 

In the building of this house", as has 
been pointed out, the improved Balloon 
method of framing has been used. The 
method of procedure is usually as follows: 

After excavating for the basement, 
trenches are dug for all footings and piers. 
The footings, foundation walls, bearing 
post footings, chimney footings and porch 
piers are then put in, in the order men- 
tioned. As the foundation wall is built 
up, the cellar window frames are set in 
place. The carpenters then place the gird- 

ers and girder posts, after which the box 
sills are laid out and the floor joists put 
in place. All openings through the floor 
for cellar stairs, chimney and clothes 
chutes, if any, are then framed. 

The joists around these openings are 
doubled, as are the joists under all parti- 
tions set parallel to the joists. If beam- 
filling is used, as in this case, the one-inch 
boards which hold it in place and the joist 
headers are now put in and the beam-fill- 
ing placed. 

Bridging (See Figure 15 page 2 1 ) is fit- 
ted in between the joists in the middle of 
the span and nailed to the joists. The rough 
stair horses for the cellar stairs are then 
cut and put in place. 




FEW INDEED are the houses 
whose supporting timbers are not sufficient 
to carry even heavier loads than they will 
ever be called upon to bear. 

"Why, then," the prospective builder is 
quick to ask, "must I interest myself in the 
supporting timbers in my new home?" 

The answer is simple. Many house annoy- 
ances are caused by cheapening the house 
through the use of undersized supporting 

The determination of size and spacing of 
framing members is treated at some length 
in the Engineering Section of this book, 
starting on page 65. It must be remem- 
bered that each house presents problems 
requiring individual consideration. For the 
owner whose home is designed by a capable 
architect and built by a conscientious con- 
tractor, it is safe to assume that this matter 
will be handled satisfactorily. 

The function of the supporting timbers 
is not merely to prevent the house from 
tumbling down. Many a house is cheapened 
by the use of undersized or too few sup- 
porting timbers and yet has strength enough 
to support any ordinary load. But the floors 
of these houses lack stiffness. And stiffness 
is vital to the satisfactory house. 


THE outer ends of the joists which support 
the first floor rest directly upon the founda- 
tion wall, or on a sill which, in turn, rests 
upon the foundation wall. The inner ends 
of these joists rest upon girders which are 
supported by bearing posts as illustrated in 
Figure 13. 

These girders and bearing posts support 
the main bearing partitions as well as a part 
of the weight of the floors and the contents 
of the house. They should, therefore, be 
of a size sufficient to support this weight. 
See engineering data in back of this book. 
What has been said above about determin- 
ing the size and spacing of supporting tim- 
bers applies, of course, to the posts and 


THE sill furnishes a means of securing the 
superstructure to the foundation and pro- 
vides a nailing surface for the joists. There 
are several types of sills in use which have 
the approval of good builders; three of these 
are shown in Figures 8, 10 and 12. 

If a house is to be firmly anchored to the 
foundation (and it surely should be for a 
number of reasons), the sill must be more 
than merely set on the foundation. The 
solid or timber sill should be anchored by 
means of bolts and the box sill by concrete, 
known in this use as "beam-filling." This 
beam-filling also seals the joint between the 
framework and the foundation. When a 
solid sill or a combination sill is used, the 
joint between it and the foundation should 
be sealed by placing the sill, or the plate, 
on a bed of mortar. 

In the hurry-up kind of construction 
this anchoring and sealing is often neglected 
or done in such a haphazard manner as to 
be of little value. Good workmanship in 
such places as this costs no more, and you 
will find it worth while to see that you get 
it. With good foundations and footings and 
with the primary supporting members of 
the house properly taken care of, you have 
a good start on a substantial house. 



THE joists furnish the support for the 
floors. Joist sizes, like girder sizes, are 
dependent upon the length of the span they 
bridge and upon the load they are required 
to carry. Failure to use joists of sufficient 
size is sometimes the cause of sagging, 
squeaking floors that seem insecure under 
foot, rattling light fixtures and cracked 
plaster in the ceilings underneath. For rec- 
ommended joist sizes and spans, see "Engi- 
neering Data" at the end of this book. 

Floor joists are often seriously weakened 
by mechanics when they are installing the 
plumbing and heating systems. It is highly 
important that the carpenters, who are 
familiar with the requirements of these 
framing members, do whatever cutting and 
notching of framing members necessary in 
this connection. It also becomes necessary 
to cut away joists for stairways, chimneys 
and other floor openings. This obviously 
weakens the floor structure and this lost 
strength must be regained. Just how it is 
done is illustrated in Figures 16, E9 and 


BY bridging is meant those small braces 
that extend crosswise from the top of one 
joist to the bottom of the next and in a 
straight, continuous line the length of the 
house. A trip to your basement will, or 
should, reveal one or more rows of bridg- 
ing. It may be difficult to realize the value 
of these small braces, but their importance 
can hardly be over-emphasized. 

The purpose of bridging is to keep the 
joists in alignment and to distribute to all of 
the joists any exceptionally heavy, concen- 
trated loads or sudden jolts that may be 
applied directly above one or two of them. 
Tests have shown that it requires three 
times as much weight to cause a certain 
amount of deflection in a bridged beam as 
it does to cause the same deflection in one 

that is not bridged. Figure 1 5 illustrates one 
good method of doing this bracing. Bridg- 
ing is just as necessary between the second 
floor joists, though, of course, it is not vis- 
ible in the completed house. 

It is difficult to remedy defects due to 
poor bridging, or lack of bridging, once the 
house is built, but a simple matter to check 
during construction. 


Pv "v 3 1 


pte^ : i 





Second Floor joist 

• This illustration shows the result of 
using floor joists of insufficient depth to 
have the required stiffness. Hence the 
sagging and the cracked plaster. Too small 
joists are often used merely because it is 
known that they will support the floor. 
These overworked joists invariably sag, 
however, when loads are applied, and 
cracked ceiling plaster and unsatisfactory 
floors are the result. Sometimes, when 
sagging floors are not noticeable to the eye, 
overworked joists are indicated by the 
feeling of insecurity when the floor is 
walked on. 


• This drawing illustrates the proper 
bridging of floor joists so essential to good 
house construction. It is an item overlooked 
or only superficially taken care of in many 
houses where correct construction is sac- 
rificed for speed and cheapness. 

A load suddenly applied to a properly 
bridged floor joist is transmitted through 
the bridging to the neighboring joists and 
thus absorbed without damage. 

Bridging tends to hold all floor joists in 
equal alignment but to be effective must 
be properly fitted and securely nailed. 

Wherever joist spans exceed eight feet, 
bridging should be used. Exceptionally 
long joist spans should be bridged every six 
feet. Where a bearing partition runs par- 
allel to the joists, the double joists beneath 
it should be braced with solid bridging. 

To get the best foundation upon which 
to lay the finished floor and to stiffen the 
framework, the sub-floor boards should 
be laid diagonally with the joists. 

• When it becomes necessary to cut away 
one or more of the floor joists, as in the 
case of an opening for a stairway, the 
strength lost in cutting off these joists 
must be regained. 

Good practice calls for framing around 
floor openings similar to that shown here. 
The loose ends of the joists cut away are 
secured to a header composed of two pieces 
of lumber of the same dimensions as the 

These headers are, in turn, supported by 
double or triple joists, depending upon the 
amount of material it is necessary to add 
in order to return the strength of the joists 
that have been cut away. The framework 
around the opening is thus again tied to- 
gether and the lost strength is regained. 

Where headers longer than six feet are 
necessary, they should be fastened to their 
supporting joists by means of stirrup irons 
or joist hangers. 

This illustration brings out very clearly 
those members which need reinforcing. The 
amount of added material required has in 
each case been designated. 

Observance of these suggestions will 
insure construction in and around the 
stairway that will prove satisfactory in 
every way. 


• This illustration shows another stage in 
the construction of the house shown on 
page 8. The sub-floor boards are here 
shown laid diagonally over the first floor 

For the sake of simplifying the illustra- 
tions in this series of drawings, the inside 
bearing partitions are shown resting on 
plates set on top of the sub-floor. In actual 
practice it would be better to run these 
bearing partition studs down between the 
joists and rest them directly upon the gird- 
ers below, as suggested in Figure 20. 

The studs and top plates for the first 
floor bearing partitions are cut and nailed 
together and the door openings in these 

partitions are framed before they are raised 
and braced in place. 

The top and bottom plates and the rib- 
band boards for the outside walls are then 
cut to exact length and the position of the 
outside wall studs is marked on each; also 
the position of all window and door open- 
ings. The outside wall studs are cut to 
proper length and notched out to receive 
the ribband board. The corner studs are 
then framed, raised and braced in place. 
The ribband board and remaining studs 
are next put in place. 

The floor joists for the second floor are 
then put up as shown. The next drawing 
in this series appears on page 33. 



Dliol 1 1 hj the fact that precautions are 
employed to assure proper floor support, 
attention must also be given to correct 
methods of laying the sub-floor and finish 


THE sub-floor is the rough under-floor 
which is nailed to the joists and over which 
the finish floor is laid. 

The sub-floor, if laid diagonally over the 
joists, gives a better foundation for the fin- 
ish floor, and especially on the upper floors, 
also adds considerable stiffness to the struc- 

The importance of properly nailing the 
floors can hardly be overstated. Many 
people are surprised to learn that it is the 
working up and down of the nails in their 
sockets that causes the annoying creaking 
and squeaking of floors when they are 
walked over. Bulging, humpy floors are also 
often the result of too few nails or of im- 
proper nailing. A nailing schedule for the 
laying of sub-floors requires: 

For 4 and 6-inch boards — Use 2 nails 

per board per joist. With 8 -inch 

boards, 3 nails per bearing are recom- 

A recent development which saves con- 
siderable time and material is 1x6 End- 
Matched Douglas Fir and West Coast Hem- 
lock. The end-matching eliminates the 
necessity for making joints over the joists, 
thereby reducing the sawing to a minimum 
and speeding up the laying of the sub- 
floor. End-Matched sub-flooring provides 
a sound, tight, squeak-eliminating base for 
the finished floor and is adequately strong 
for any form of residential construction. 

Since the finish floors are almost the last 
thing to go into a house, they will be dis- 
cussed farther on in the book. 

-v ■:■:■■■■ ■ 

• This shows what happens to plastering 
on an inside wall when partition settles. 

In addition to the cracked plaster in the 
corner, which is going to demand expen- 
sive repairing of plaster and premature 
redecorating, an unsightly crack has devel- 
oped under the baseboard. 

The condition noted in this picture is a 
result of one or more of the following 

1. Faulty footings under bearing posts 

2. Too small girders or too few posts. 

3. A wide opening in a wall below this 
one improperly framed. 

4. Joists under partition not doubled. 

5. Joists of insufficient size. 


# Here is shown a condition not uncom- 
mon in house construction, i. e., a second 
floor bearing partition not directly over 
the bearing partition of the first floor but 
near the middle of the joist span. This 
condition calls for additional strength in 
the second floor joists 'which, in this case, 
has been secured by doubling the joists. 

Note the blocking between the double 
joists and also that solid bridging has been 
added between the supporting studs in the 
main bearing partition. 

This drawing also illustrates the econ- 
omy in so planning a house as to have all 
bearing partitions directly over one an- 
other and directly above the supporting 
girders; thus avoiding the necessity for this 
extra reinforcing. 

While the drawing shows a correct 
method of meeting the situation it illus- 
trates, it is not necessarily the exact prac- 
tice that should be followed in all cases. 
As pointed out in the text, it is more eco- 
nomical, where possible, to have bearing 
partitions on all floors directly over the 
bearing posts and girders in the basement. 


NO flooring receives harder wear than that 
on the porch. Attention to the following 
points will add materially to its life. 

1. The porch floor should have a slight 
pitch so that water will run off quickly. 
Substantial piers and footings are necessary 
to assure an even floor year after year. 

2. Porch flooring should be dry when 

3. The joints of the porch flooring should 
be given a coat of white lead and oil just 
before the flooring is laid, and the whole 
floor, particularly under columns, should be 
painted immediately after being laid. A fresh 
coat of paint each year will greatly increase 
the life of the floor. 

4. Circulation of air under the porch 
should be provided. 



SHRINKAGE [ s the natural result 
of the drying of wood. While certain diffi- 
culties in many houses are traceable directly 
to it, it does not follow that these defects 
need to be a part of the wood house. 

Shrinkage may be minimized by the use 
of seasoned lumber and a few simple con- 
struction methods sometimes overlooked by 
the builder. 

Water exists in wood in two conditions: 
as free water contained within the cell cav- 
ities and as water absorbed in the cell walls. 
Removal of the free water merely reduces 
the weight of the wood; shrinkage begins 
with the removal of the absorbed water, and 
the amount of shrinkage that will take place 
in a piece of wood is directly proportionate 
to the amount of moisture which the cell 
walls have absorbed. 

Therefore, since green lumber with a 
moisture content of 2 5 to 3 per cent will 
shrink much more than lumber with a 
moisture content of only 1 5 per cent, the 
wisdom of using seasoned lumber in the 
framework of a house is immediately appar- 
ent. The development of modern dry kilns 
at all of the reputable West Coast mills 
makes it possible, in most sections, to buy 
correctly seasoned framing lumber at no 
greater cost than green unseasoned stock. 

Shrinkage of wood, however, like the ex- 
pansion and contraction of steel, cannot be 
entirely eliminated. Just as steel expands 
under heat and contracts when cooled, so 
lumber, unprotected by paint, takes on and 
gives off moisture according to the varia- 
tions in the humidity of the surrounding 
atmosphere. As a house ages, the lumber in 
its framework, subjected to the dry artificial 
heat in winter, may, over a period of years, 
dry to a moisture content as low as 6 or 8 
per cent. It is not practical to use framing 
lumber in the building of a house with as 
low a moisture content as this since, even 

though the lumber were dried to this state in 
the beginning, it would, during its process 
of building, absorb enough atmospheric 
moisture to bring it back to air-dry condi- 

This additional shrinkage must, therefore, 
be taken care of in the manner in which the 
house is built. And this is rendered easy by 
the fact that lumber in drying shrinks 
mostly across the grain (in cross section) 
and only infinitesimally lengthwise (with 
the grain), making it necessary in design- 
ing the frame of a house merely to minimize 
and equalize as far as possible the amount 
of horizontal framing lumber appearing in 
cross section in the outside walls and bearing 

In the properly designed house frame, 
then, the horizontal framing members in 
the outside walls and partitions — which are 
the only members in which wood in cross 
section is used, and so the only members 
subject to shrinkage — are minimized and 
equalized so far as it is possible without sac- 
rificing the strength and rigidity of the 
structure. This may sound a bit complicated 
and involved, but reference to Figures 20 
and 21 will clarify the matter. 

In these illustrations proper and improper 
methods of providing for shrinkage in the 
improved Balloon Frame are shown. The 
same principle can, however, be applied to 
other types of frames. 

Good builders everywhere are recogniz- 
ing how easy it is to build against shrinkage 
and so are avoiding the numerous house ills 
that might otherwise result from the uneven 
settling of walls and partitions. Here again 
we have an illustration of how simple it is 
to see that one's house is substantially built 
if one will take the trouble to study the 
working plans and then check up the various 
details as the house is being built. 

See Figures 20 and 21 which follotv. 



# This illustration shows one method of 
building against shrinkage by equalizing 
and minimizing, as far as possible, in both 
the outside walls and inside bearing par- 
titions, the amount of lumber the shrink- 
age of which would cause settlement. 

The members which are involved in this 
consideration appear in solid black within 
the circles. 

In the outside wall any settlement which 
might occur due to shrinkage in the box 
sill and plate would be offset by an approx- 
imately equal amount of shrinkage in the 
girder under the inside bearing partition. 

The slight additional settlement which 
might occur, due to shrinkage in the plates, 
upon which the second floor joists rest, 
would be so slight as to be negligible. 

In contrast to Figure 21, note that the 
first floor bearing partition studs are 
brought down between the joists to rest 
directly upon the girder. Note also that 
the second floor bearing partition studs 
rest directly upon the top plates of the 
first floor partition. 

Figure 21, in contrast to this one, shows 
a form of construction in which the shrink- 
age problem is ignored. 

Any shrinkage that might occur in the 
top plates just beneath the attic floor joists, 
in both this drawing and Figure 21, would 
affect the attic floor only and would not 
be serious, due to the fact that the thick- 
ness of these plates is exactly the same in 
both the inside and outside walls. Any 
settlement of the attic floor would be so 
slight as to be negligible and would also 
be uniform. 



This illustration of a common method 
of framing shows the shrinkage problem 
unsolved. The solid black within the cir- 
cles indicates the relative amounts of lum- 
ber, the shrinkage of which would cause 
settlement in the outside and inside walls. 

In the outside wall, settlement due to 
shrinkage in the 3 l /z -inch sill would be so 
slight as to be negligible — not over .08 of 
an inch if the sill "were air-dry. 

In the inside bearing partition, however, 
note that both the first and second story 
partition studs rest upon plates that are 
set on top of the joists and sub-floors. Any 
shrinkage in the cross section dimensions 
of the girders, first and second floor joists, 
sub-floor boards and plates will, therefore, 
cause settlement in this inside wall. 

To solve correctly this problem of 
shrinkage, the house frame should be so 
constructed as to minimize and equalize, 
as far as possible, the amount of lumber 
appearing in cross section within the bear- 
ing walls and partitions. 

Note in Figure 20 how easy it is through 
a slight variation in manner of construc- 
tion to eliminate uneven settlement of this 



# Lack of proper framing of the bath- 
room floor joists and the partitions in which 
the plumbing and heating pipes are to be 
located and careless cutting and notching 
of frame members, to permit the passage 
of pipes, are responsible for many unsatis- 
factory bathroom floors and walls. 

The above illustration shows one method 
of building a strong partition for carrying 
these pipes and one which is not weakened 
by the necessary cutting and notching. 

In this case, the 2x6-inch partition studs 
are made continuous from first floor to 
attic. This allows ample room for all pipes 
and makes a partition which loses no 
strength in the installation of plumbing 
and heating systems. 

The joists at each side of the partition 
are nailed to each stud, thus assuring ample 
support for the floor. The joist notched 
out for the pipe should be cut in the man- 
ner shown and the piece replaced to pro- 
vide nailing surface for the floor. 

OBVIOUSLY, the first essentials of 
wall framing are strength and rigidity, since 
the walls are required not only to carry a 
large part of the weight of the house, but 
must, as well, resist pressure from occasional 
high winds. 

Wall and partition framing consists of 
studs, usually 2x4's, top and bottom plates 
and the necessary bracing and fire-stopping. 
Careful cutting, fitting, nailing, bracing, 
and fire-stopping are all essential to sound, 
substantial walls and partitions. 

There are two kinds of walls and parti- 
tions, bearing and non-bearing. A bearing 
partition or wall is one which runs at right 
angles to and supports the ends of the joists. 
In other words, a bearing wall or partition 
is one which bears or supports a load from 
above. A non-bearing wall or partition acts 
only as a screen or enclosure. 

As has been pointed out, non-bearing par- 
titions should be supported by double 
bridged joists (see Figure 15). The studs 
which support the framing around stairways 
should also be doubled, as shown in Figure 
16. Bearing partitions require special sup- 
port, as pointed out in Figure 19, when these 
partitions do not occur directly over the 
partition below. In such a case, the studs in 
the bearing partition below, which support 
this off side bearing partition, should be re- 
inforced with two rows of bridging. (This 
is also shown in Figure 19.) 

When a partition supports more than the 
weight of the roof and two floors, as in the 
case of a bearing partition in the basement 
of a two-story house, the studs in this bear- 
ing partition which, in such a case, replace 
the main bearing posts, should be not less 
than 2x6 or 3x4 inches. 

Continued on Page 30. 


# Here is a condition common in many 
short-life houses. Figure 23 shows the re- 
sult of improper framing around large 
openings in bearing partitions. In addition 
to the large jagged cracks running up from 
the opening, note the disfiguring crevice 
at the ceiling line. Also note that the trim 
or woodwork over the opening has sagged 

The center illustration, Figure 24, shows 
the same cased opening with part of the 
plaster removed to show the cause of the 
condition pictured above. The framing 
around this opening is insufficient. The 
single plate and the single header were 
unable to carry the overhead load without 
giving somewhat. Hence the sagging noted 
in these members. 

Figure 25 at the bottom illustrates how, 
with a little additional time and materials, 
the condition noted in the first illustration 
could have been avoided and with it the 
expense and annoyance involved in re- 
plastering and redecorating. Nor does this 
replastering and redecorating over this 
opening cure or cover up all of the evils 
occasioned by this faulty framing. The 
floor and the partition directly above will 
have sagged and the plaster on both sides 
of the partition will have cracked. 

Note in the bottom illustration that the 
headers have been doubled and set on edge. 
The plate has been doubled also, as have 
the door studs. The 2x4-inch truss members 
and blocking have been added to give addi- 
tional strength and rigidity to the fram- 
ing. While other methods of meeting this 
situation might have been designed, the 
one here shown will illustrate how easily 
the condition shown in Figure 23 may be 






V/ALL | 


In all cases bearing partitions should have 
double top plates and should be braced with 
solid bridging not less than two inches in 
thickness and not less than the full width of 
the studs. (See Figure 19.) 

The partitions in which the main soil pipe 
is placed require special framing as shown 
in Figure 22. 


IT becomes necessary in the construction of 
the house to cut away part of the framing 
in the outside walls for door and window 
openings, and in the inside walls, or parti- 
tions, for door openings. Naturally this 
weakens the framework as a whole and the 
lost strength must be regained by reinforc- 
ing the framework around these openings. 
Proper framing over inside openings is 
illustrated in Figure 2 5, while framing of 
outside wall openings is shown in Figures 
29 and 30. 

# At the left are shown two methods of 
applying the outside wall sheathing. Diag- 
onal sheathing shown in Figure 27 adds 
materially to the stiffness and strength of 
the house. 

The use of Endless lumber eliminates the 
usual added waste, because it is not neces- 
sary to make joints on studs. 

With the sheathing laid horizontally, 
Figure 28, corner bracing should be used 
to give additional stiffness to the structure. 
The sheathing should be tongued and 
grooved or otherwise matched and the 
boards tightly driven together and nailed 
to each stud with at least two 8-penny 
nails in each board. 


This illustration shows the correct 
method of framing around a large opening 
in an outside wall — in this case for a triple 
window. The construction is very similar 
to that in Figure 25, for the same principles 
are involved. Note the adequate trussing 
and blocking, the double-header above and 
below and at the sides of the opening, also 
the frame stiff ener and caulking, more 
clearly shown and explained below. 


This illustration shows the proper fram- 
ing around window openings. Note the 
frame stiffeners. These help to keep the 
window frame straight and eliminate one 
cause of binding windows. As a general 
rule, all framing members around window 
(and door) openings should be doubled. 


In the above illustration single framing 
members have been used. They do not re- 
place the strength lost in cutting away the 
studs to make the opening. No caulking is 
shown. Failure to caulk allows free pas- 
sage of air into the house. 




l"x.022" STEEL STRAP 





• One of the four methods of bracing 
shown on this page should be used on all 
well constructed houses. 

• In Figure 32 bracing of the frame is 
accomplished by placing the sheathing at 
a 45° angle. Tests prove this method of 
bracing increases the rigidity of the house 
from two to seven times, depending on 
the number of openings which must be left 
for doors and window frames. This illus- 
tration shows the use of end-matched 
sheathing which may be used without mak- 
ing the joints on the studs. When ordinary 
sheathing is used, joints should be made 
only at the studs. 

• Some good builders prefer to brace the 
house frame with let-in bracing shown in 
Figure 33. This is accomplished by notch- 
ing the studs to receive a continuous piece 
of 1x4 which is securely nailed to each stud. 
This type of bracing must be installed prior 
to the placing of the sheathing. 

• Another popular method of bracing the 
house frame and the one used in the house 
illustrated is the cut-in type. This con- 
sists of 2x4 members carefully cut and 
fitted between the studs after the sheath- 
ing has been nailed in place, Figure 34. 

• A more recent bracing development is 
in the form of a 1-inch metal strip which 
may quickly be applied as shown in Figure 
3 4- A. This strip is nailed to each stud with 
two 8d common nails. This strip of pre- 
pared steel should be applied to the sheath- 
ing with roofing nails spaced 3 -inch o.c. 
and the straps placed at as close to a 45° 
angle as possible. 

# This figure shows further development 
in the construction of the house pictured 
on pages 8, 18 and 22. 

As the second floor joists are laid after 
the manner described in Figure 17, all 
openings in the floor for chimney, stairs, 
etc., are framed as in Figure 16. Joists are 
also doubled under any partitions that are 
to run parallel to them. 

The outside -wall studs are then capped 
-with double top plates and another set of 
temporary braces put in as shown. 

All necessary cutting, doubling and 
trussing, in the outside wall for the first 
floor window and outside doors and the 
fire-stopping at the second floor line is then 
done, after which the wall sheathing is put 
on up to the second floor line. The outside 

walls are straightened and the bridging is 
then put in between the second floor joists 
as in Figure 15. Headers between the joists 
are also put in. 

To simplify this drawing, the cut-in 
bracing is not shown. Cut-in bracing will 
be installed after the sheathing has been 
applied. One of the four methods of brac- 
ing shown on the preceding page should be 
used in every well constructed house. 

The second story sub-floor is then laid 
diagonally as in the case of the first floor, 
but running in the opposite direction. 

The second floor inside partitions are 
built in the same manner as those on the 
first floor. 

The next drawing in this series appears 
in Figure 50. 



1 1 should be realized that no building, 
regardless of the materials of which it is 
built, is fireproof so long as its contents are 
inflammable. The masonry walls of a so- 
called "fireproof" structure confine the heat 
of the fire, creating a veritable furnace in 
which concrete disintegrates and even the 
supporting steel beams and columns twist 
and fail and fall into a heap of ruins. 

Therefore, since all buildings of whatever 
nature are subject to destruction by fire as 
long as their contents are inflammable, the 
important considerations for the house 
builder are merely these: 

1. How can fires be prevented? 

2. In the event of a fire starting, how can 
it be confined through the manner of con- 
struction in a building so as to make its 
spread difficult and so as to allow ample 
time in which to get to it and extinguish it? 

Only when it is realized that 96 per cent 
of all dwelling house fires originate inside 
the house and that practically every dwell- 
ing house fire is due to carelessness or defects 
in the internal construction of houses, will 
the importance of these two considerations 
be fully appreciated. 

The installation of electric wiring and 
fixtures by experienced electricians under 
competent supervision and according to 
Underwriters' standards, leaves little chance 
for fires from this source. Neither is it diffi- 
cult to so construct the chimney and the 
framing around it so as to eliminate the 
chimney as a cause of fire. 

There are three methods of fire-stopping: 

1. Two-inch lumber fitted in between the 
studs and joists. 

2. The vital points boxed in with one- 

inch boards and the boxes filled with in- 
combustible material such as loose mortar 
concrete, mineral wool, etc. 

3. Metal lath, bent and nailed into place 
between the studs and joists. The lath is 
then plastered and the box thus formed 
filled with incombustible material. 

Fire-stops are put into a building to pre- 
vent the passage of flames, hot air and gases. 
All joints should be tight; otherwise, hot 
gases will pass through them and ignite the 
wood above. Poorly fitted fire-stops are 
little better than none. 

The slight additional expense involved in 
fire-stopping a house cannot rightfully be 
charged to fire prevention alone, since 
much of it serves as bracing in the frame of 
the house. Fire-stopping more than pays 
for itself in the additional strength and 
rigidity it gives to the entire structure. Fig- 
ure 37 shows how this fire-stopping should 
be installed. 

Thus, it is seen that next to the elimina- 
tion of the causes of fire, right construc- 
tion is of first importance in increasing the 
fire safety in houses — nor can any house, 
regardless of its outside wall and roof cov- 
ering, be considered a reasonable fire risk, 
unless fire-stopping is made an integral part 
of its internal construction. On the other 
hand, by proper appreciation of the points 
brought out in this chapter, it is possible 
today to build an all-wood house that will 
be in every way fire-safe. 

There is no better fire prevention measure 
than good housekeeping, especially in the 
basement. Accumulations of trash piles of 
combustible material which collect in any 
house should be guarded against. 


# One glance at the accompanying illus- 
tration, showing a house without fire-stop- 
ping, should be sufficient to bring out the 
importance of closer attention to this 
important detail in the construction of a 
house. There are no fire-stops in this house. 
The arrows indicate the free circulation of 
air between the floor joists and between the 
wall studs. 

Properly constructed and tightly-fitted 
fire-stops in the walls and floors, however, 
would confine the fire to one or two com- 
partments and afford ample time to reach 
it and extinguish it without serious loss or 

The circles "A," "B," «C," "D,» "E," 
and "F" indicate the vital points at which 
fire-stopping should have been used. 


# This shows a method of fire-stopping in 
which boxes of one-inch boards filled with 
incombustible material have been used 
throughout except at point "F," at which 
point a two-inch plank serves more effec- 
tively. Metal lath baskets carefully plas- 
tered after they are put in may be used in 
place of the inch boards. 

It is important that when incombustible 
material is used, the space be filled to a 
point at least four inches above the floor 
level, to allow for settlement in the loose 

A solid sill, although not recommended 
for the improved Balloon Frame, has been 
shown at point "A" to illustrate how fire- 
stopping should be done when this type 
of sill is used. 

This drawing illustrates, in a very gen- 
eral way, the principles of fire-stopping. It 
does not show all of the different parts of 
house, however, where fire-stops should be 
used. In the fire-safe house you will find 
fire-stops placed not only in the walls and 
beneath the floors, but in the stairways, 
around the clothes chutes and sliding door 
pockets. A number of other satisfactory 
methods of fire-stopping are also employed. 

The slight additional cost of completely 
fire-stopping a house is more than offset by 
the added security it gives in return. 



X Hfcr chimney should be self-supporting 
and so constructed as to be absolutely inde- 
pendent of the house framing. Soil condi- 
tions govern the size of the chimney foot- 
ings, but they should never be less than 12 
inches deep and should always extend at 
least 6 inches beyond each face of the 

• Wrong. This construction invites fire 
and yet, in varying degrees, is not rare but 
quite common, Note that floor joists, 
boards and nailing blocks are built into the 
brickwork of the chimney. In addition to 
the fire hazard, this construction will re- 
sult in cracked plaster. The settlement of 
the chimney will also cause the members 
framed into it to settle. The correct method 
of framing around chimneys is illustrated 
in Figures 40 and 41. 

The walls of a chimney with terra cotta 
flue lining should be not less than 4 inches 
thick if built of brick, nor less than 8 inches 
thick if built of stone. 

All combustible materials such as wooden 
framing members should be at least two 
inches from the chimney wall. The open 
spaces between the floor framework and the 



V - Y 


• Wrong. A chimney set on a bracket 
attached to a wall is a fire menace found 
in many houses even today. Note how the 
sagging of the bracket has opened the 
joints in the brickwork. In addition to this, 
the rafters and floor joists have been 
framed tight against the chimney, which 
has only a 4-inch wall without flue lining. 
A proper foundation for a chimney is 
shown in Figure 41. 



I ^a, * 


• Having read that all combustible ma- 
terial should be at least two inches away 
from the chimney wall unless the brick- 
work is eight inches in thickness — the 
reader naturally wonders how it is possible 
to make a tight joint around the chimney 
at the roof. 

This is accomplished by the use of what 
is called "flashing" and "counter flashing." 

The term "flashing" is applied to the 
pieces of metal — tin, copper or lead — that 
are nailed onto the roof along with the 
shingles and bent up against the chimney 
wall, while "counter flashing" means the 
pieces of metal set into the brickwork and 
bent down over the flashing to form a 
water-tight joint. 

Copper is the best metal to use. It costs 
but little more than tin or sheet metal and 
will be permanent, whereas the latter will 
rust out. It is difficult to replace flashing 
after it has failed. 

The flashings should be arranged to over- 
lap generously and allow for any move- 
ment that may occur in the chimney or 

What is called a "metal covered cricket" 
or "chimney saddle" is used to shed the 
water from behind the chimney. 

This illustration also shows what is 
meant by tile or terra cotta flue lining and 
how the chimney is made weatherproof 
with a cement cap. The mortar joints of 
the flue lining should be well made and 
struck smooth on the inside. 

chimney should be filled with mortar, min- 
eral wool, or other incombustible material. 
Proper framing around the chimney is illus- 
trated in Figures 40 and 41. 

While it is permissible, from the stand- 
point of fire hazard, to plaster directly on 
the brickwork of the chimney, the practice 
should be discouraged because plaster cracks 
are certain to develop. When plaster is ap- 
plied in this manner, however, the furring 
strips placed around the chimney to support 
the base or other interior trim should be in- 
sulated from the masonry by asbestos paper 
at least ^g-inch thick. A better practice is 

to box in the chimney with studs, set two 
inches away from the brickwork, and on 
these to apply the lath and plaster. 

The chimney should be capped with 
stone, terra cotta, concrete or cast iron and 
should extend at least three feet above a flat 
roof or two feet above a ridge roof. This 
assures a good draft for the heating plant. 

Any increase in the wall thickness of the 
chimney should be made at least 12 inches 
below the rafters and not be made above 
the roof except for capping. 

The proper construction of fireplaces is 
fully described and illustrated in Figure 41. 


• This illustration shows a properly-built 
fireplace and chimney. The chimney has 
two flues, one for the fireplace and one for 
the furnace. Note that the chimney stands 
practically independent of the framing 
around it. The following points are essen- 
tial to the construction of a successful 
fireplace and chimney: 

First — a good footing. This should have 
a projection of at least six inches and a 
depth of 12 inches. Do not use the founda- 
tion wall as one of the walls of the ash pit. 

Second — the width, height and depth of 
the fireplace opening should be of proper 
proportion to each other and to the size of 
the room. 

A fireplace opening about three feet wide 
and two feet high is large enough for the 
average living room. The depth should 
never be less than 16 inches, nor more than 
24 inches. The height, except for very large 
fireplaces, should not be over two feet six 
inches and should never exceed the width. 
The area of the cross-section of the smoke 
flue should never be less than one-tenth to 
one-ninth the area of the fireplace opening. 

Third — it should reflect heat into the 
room. This is accomplished by making the 
back two-thirds the width of the front, 
and by sloping the back and splaying the 
sides, as shown in the illustration. The sides 
and back of the fireplace should be built 
of good fire brick set in fire clay. 

Fourth — the iron throat and damper 
should be of proper size and correctly lo- 
cated. The throat and damper should ex- 
tend over the entire width of the fireplace. 

Fifth — a properly constructed smoke 
shelf and smoke chamber should be pro- 

The smoke shelf is formed by setting 
back the brickwork at the top of the throat. 
It should be the full width of the throat 
and not less than 4 inches wide. Eight to 
12 inches is still better. Its purpose is to 
deflect the down draft. 

The smoke chamber is the space from the 
top of the throat to the bottom of the flue. 
This space is necessary to hold the smoke 
temporarily when a gust of wind across the 
top of the chimney momentarily cuts off 
the draft. Otherwise, the smoke would be 
forced into the room. The walls of the 
smoke chamber should be plastered smooth. 

Sixth — the chimney should be carried 
high enough above the house to insure a 
good draft. 



— f 








# These drawings show the methods of 
floor framing around fireplaces built under 
the following conditions: 

Figure 42 — Fireplace partly exposed on 
outside of building. 

Figure 43 — Fireplace built against out- 
side wall but not exposed. 

Figure 44 — Fireplace inside of house 
having wood floor framing on all sides. 

The principle applied in each case is the 
same. All framing members on the sides of 
the fireplace should be at least 2 inches 
away from brick or masonry wall, unless 
protected by 8 or more inches of brick- 
work or 12 inches or more of masonry. The 
intervening space should be filled with in- 
combustible material such as mineral wool, 
concrete or mortar. 

The framing at back should be at least 
four inches away, and the intervening space 
at each floor filled with incombustible ma- 
terial. The back should be at least 8 inches 
thick and lined with fire brick. 

The header-joists or beam supporting the 
trimmer arch in front of a fireplace should 
be not less than 20 inches from the chimney 
breast. The hearth should be not less than 
4 inches thick and should extend at least 
20 inches in front of the fireplace. The 
woodwork around the fireplace should be 
not nearer than 8 inches at the sides of the 
opening and 12 inches at the top. 

The incombustible material used for fill- 
ing between the framing members and the 
brickwork should be supported by strips of 
sheet metal or metal lath set into brick- 
work and nailed to the joists with a buckle 
joint to allow for the settling of the chim- 

Note in Figure 42 the method of weath- 
erproofing the joint between the brick- 
work and the frame wall. 

0ut5!PE Wall- 



Roubl e Hea per-^ 

_2* Space fillf_p with 
incombustible material 




_ .^ 

1 1 ■ .i. - .i ■■■*..,* ' B UM 

<. — Space fillepwith 

outsipe wall-j dtup a / incombustible materia 





^'Spacefilled with 
incombustible material 

xlPl i; 

If 7 - 2" S pace fillep with 

(H f 'J 11 _ FT irimMRii'vriRi f mivtfru 





ROOF PITCH. Insufficient pitch probably 
causes more troublesome roofs than any 
other single factor, especially in climates 
where there is considerable snow. It is diffi- 
cult to build a tight roof of low pitch in 
these localities. In climates where the snow- 
fall is very heavy, the pitch should be not 
less than one-third. Home builders, in the 
climates where deep snows are customary, 
will also do well to hold to simple, straight 
roof lines. 


THE roof rafters, the framing members of 
the roof, must be of sufficient size and 
strength to support the weight of the roof, 
to carry the snow load and to resist the 
wind pressure without sagging. If the 
rafters are undersized or spaced too far 
apart, they will sag. This sagging will split 
and loosen the shingles and cause a leaky 

For recommended rafter sizes and spans, 
see "Engineering Data" at end of the book. 


ROOF sheathing boards give best results 
when laid tight. As the roof boards are 
depended upon for some bracing effect as 
well as to furnish the foundation for the 
roof covering, the joints should be stag- 
gered. All roof boards should be nailed with 
at least two 8-penny nails at each rafter. 
Boards wider than six inches require at least 
three nails. If the third floor of the house is 
to be occupied, the roof should be insulated. 
Oven-like attics are the result of the hot 
summer rays of the sun beating down upon 
an uninsulated roof and can be avoided at 
slight cost. The dollars wasted in heat lost 
through the average roof in winter would, 
in a short time, pay for the cost of insulation. 

• This is a familiar sight where snow and 
ice are the rule during the winter and 
early spring. 

The valley formed by a gable on the 
side of the main roof becomes filled with 
drifting snow. Mild days and the heat lost 
through the roof causes the snow to melt 
and when followed by a drop in tempera- 
ture at night, the downspout becomes 
clogged with ice. 

When the water from the next day's 
thaw freezes, the entire gutter becomes 
filled with ice. Unless the gutters are of 
proper design, the valley will next become 
filled with ice and the water from further 
melting of the snow will, in its downward 
course, back up under the shingles and 
damage is done. 


The above illustration shows the correct 
method of installing a wood gutter. Note 
the blocks, spaced three feet apart, behind 
the gutter which provide openings for 
overflow in case the downspouts become 

SHINGLES. For the average house, there is 
no better nor more economical roof cover- 
ing than wood shingles, properly applied. A 
No. 1 Certigrade Western Red Cedar shingle 
(100% vertical grain, 100% clear, and all 
heart) when applied correctly with the 
right nails should last many years. The No. 
2 and No. 3 grades of shingles should not be 
used for new house construction purposes. 
In applying Western Red Cedar shingles, 
the following simple rules will assure a 
tight, durable roof: Lay the starter or first 
course doubled (2-ply), allowing from l l / 4 
to 2 inches projection over crown mold and 
1 inch projection on gables. Space shingles 
approximately l / 8 inch apart. All shingles 
over 9 inches wide should be split before 
laying. Use only two nails for each shingle, 
being careful not to drive the heads of the 
nails into the shingles. Break joints not closer 
than 1 Y 4 inches, side lap. See that breaks 
do not come directly over each other on any 
three consecutive courses. The covering of 
all nails is essential for a serviceable roof. 

Hips and ridges should be formed with 
horizontal courses of shingles laid Boston 
style over 26 gauge galvanized iron or 
copper flashing. 

Valleys formed by the intersection of 
two roof surfaces must be lined with metal 
flashing extending up on each side of the 
center line of the valley for at least 7 inches. 
On flat pitch roofs, this flashing should ex- 
tend 10 inches or more. Lap the shingles 
over the flashing at least 6 inches. For draw- 
ings showing how to make leak-proof hips, 
ridges, valleys, dormers, and chimneys, see 
page 62. 

NAILS. A shingle roof cannot last longer 
than the nails that hold it. It is not in the least 
uncommon for shingles to outlive the shin- 
gle nails. The ordinary shingle nail rusts 
and breaks off long before the shingles 
themselves begin to deteriorate. If, then, the 
life of the roof is so dependent upon the life 
of the nails used, there is surely no extrav- 
agance in using the best nails obtainable. 

Hot dipped, zinc-coated or copper nails 
make the best shingle nails. While they nat- 
urally cost more, the cost of shingle nails 
is such a small item in the building of a 
house that, even doubled, it amounts to 
very little. Certainly the best shingle nails 
obtainable are a good investment if they 
double the life of the roof. 

GUTTERS. A well built gutter or eaves 
trough of proper design is essential to the 
tight roof. It is vitally important that the 
gutter be of sufficient size to carry water off 
rapidly and that it be so designed that it 
permits snow to slide off over it. In addition 
it must be constructed of durable material 
which will be relatively unaffected by the 
acids carried in smoke laden air. No other 
gutter, regardless of material, will answer 
these qualifications as well as Douglas Fir 
gutter. Douglas Fir is immune to the ravages 
of rust and corrosion which have been re- 
sponsible for so many gutter failures. Any 
one of the standard patterns and sizes of 
Douglas Fir gutter will give splendid ser- 
vice when properly applied. 



1 rlli making of a weatherproof house, 
no matter what material is used for wall 
covering, starts with proper wall construc- 
tion. If the joints around the doors and 
windows and other points are not tight, 
good construction in the rest of the wall 
will not make the house cool in summer 
nor easy to keep warm in winter. A num- 
ber of these points are discussed in Figures 
30, 31 and 49. 


HUMIDIFYING systems in modern homes 
increase the vapor pressure tending to force 
water vapor through the interior wall 
covering and into the wall construction. If 
the wall is insulated, but has no barrier 
against the passage of this vapor, then the 
inside surface of the sheathing frequently 
will be below the dew point temperature. 
In this case moisture would condense on the 
inside of the sheathing to form ice in very 
cold weather, and upon melting may enter 
the sheathing and framing' directly causing 
paint failures and other construction troubles. 
Wood sheathing permits the wall to 
breathe. The cell structure of wood permits 
the taking on and giving off of excessive 
moisture. With vapor proof sealing paper 
on the inside face of the studs, or with a 
vapor barrier insulating blanket suspended 
in the stud space and a wind-proof paper on 
the outside of the sheathing, a safe, dry 
breathing wall is created. A good tight 

three-quarter inch tongued and grooved or 
shiplapped wood sheathing with a wind- 
proof building paper will provide adequate 
sidewall protection. 

Insulating materials may be divided into 
four classifications: flexible, rigid, fill, and 
reflective. The first three are composed of a 
large number of small cells amounting to 
minute dead air spaces which resist the pas- 
sage of heat or cold. The fourth depends on 
reflection of radiated heat for results. 

Regardless of the type used, there are five 
important requirements for permanently 
effective insulating material. 

First — HIGH EFFICIENCY, which is 
measured in the degree of resistance to pas- 
sage of heat. Laboratory tests may not be 
relied upon entirely since test conditions 
and job conditions are not identical and in- 
creasing the thickness of an insulating ma- 
terial does not produce returns directly 
proportional. However conductivity fig- 
ures as published by the American Society 
of Heating and Ventilating Engineers may 
be used as a guide to the value of an insulat- 
ing material. 

Insulation should be protected against the 
penetration of moisture. There is a marked 
difference in temperature inside and out- 
side the house in some seasons, and some- 
where within the walls moisture must con- 
dense. If that moisture is absorbed by the 
insulating material, serious damage to plas- 
ter and interior finish may result. 

INFILTRATION. Some insulating mate- 


rials lose efficiency because of their porous 
nature. Infiltration of air is a condition met 
to some degree in buildings of any con- 
struction (frame, brick, etc.)- Efficient in- 
sulation should be permanently protected 
from air infiltration if it is to provide last- 
ing satisfaction. 

TION. Settling of insulation results in in- 
creasing density of the material, which re- 
duces efficiency and exposes open spaces at 
the top of walls, leaving areas without in- 
sulating protection. When applied in the 
walls or ceiling of a building, effective in- 
sulation should remain permanently in 

Fifth— FIRE RESISTANT. An insulat- 
ing material should not add to fire hazard. 
Balsam-Wool Sealed Insulation, which is 
available in several thicknesses, meets all 
requirements for effective insulation. Figure 
52 illustrates the proper application of in- 
sulation. Insulation in the ceiling of a house 
is important and wall insulation follows 
as a close second for economy and comfort. 

# Below are shown three methods of con- 
structing and fitting window frames. The 
point to be stressed is that of sealing up the 
joints around the window frame. 

Figure 47 shows the type of window 
frame that permits of sealing up these 
joints most effectively. Here blind casings 
are used at the sides and top on both the 
outside and inside of the frame. These 
casings are nailed to the window studs at 
the sides and to the headers at the top of 
the opening. The wall sheathing butts 
against the edge of the outside blind casing, 
and the joint between the two is sealed by 
means of the building paper and outside 
finish casing. The inside blind casing acts 
as a gauge for the plaster which is worked 
up to it, the joint between the two being 
concealed by the inside finish casing. 

The space between the sill and the header 
is filled with caulking material and further 
closed up with a strip plowed into the sill. 
The top of the sill is rabbeted to receive the 
sash and the siding is let into a groove in 
the under side. 

It is also important that the joint be- 
tween the drip caps (the moulding across 
the top of the frame) and the siding be 
made absolutely tight. This is accom- 
plished by the use of flashing nailed to the 
drip cap and bent to extend up behind the 

Figure 48 shows the same frame except 
for the inside blind casing and the strip 
under the sill, both of which have been 
omitted. It is not as efficient as the method 
shown above but can be made very effec- 
tive if put in with care. 

Figure 49 illustrates the most common 
type of frame and the one that is respon- 
sible for the condition shown in Figure 51. 

Continued on next page. 

When this frame is used, a hole is cut in 
the wall sheathing large enough to allow 
the frame to fit loosely. This leaves an 
opening the full height of the window on 
both sides, varying in width from one-half 
inch to an inch and with nothing but the 
joint between the outside casing and blind 
stops to protect it. 


The sill is not rabbeted to receive the 
sash. The space between the sill and the 
header in the haphazard type of construc- 
tion is usually not caulked but is left open 
to the ready passage of cold air and dust. 

While these illustrations show frames 
for ordinary, double-hung sash, the same 
general principles apply to the construction 
and fitting of frames for stationary or case- 
ment sash. 

# Showing the usual method of proce- 
dure in Balloon Frame house construction. 
Previous drawings in this series appear on 
pages 8, 18, 22 and 3 3. The openings for 
the second story windows are cut and 
framed in, and the attic floor joists, with 
the necessary framing around stair and 
chimney openings, bridging and attic floor 
are shown here in place. The 'wall sheathing 
is then put on up to the attic floor line. 

The ridge rafter and roof rafters are 
laid out and cut to the required length, 
after "which the ridge rafter and a pair of 
rafters are set up. The gable studs at each 
end of the building are next fitted into 
place. The balance of the rafters are then 
put in and the opening cut for the chim- 
ney. The chimney is usually built before 
the roof boards are put on. Next, the rough 
framing for the porches is done. 





IN those sections of the country where low 
temperatures prevail three or four months 
during the year, fuel bills can be materially 
reduced by the use of properly fitted storm 
doors and windows. The cost of this equip- 
ment also can be saved many times over 
during the life of the house through lower 
fuel bills. 


METAL weather strips, when properly 
applied, prevent cold air from coming 
through the cracks around doors and win- 
dows and thus effect a saving in fuel bills. 
In localities with extremely low tempera- 
tures and strong winds, the use of both 
weather stripping and storm doors and win- 
dows will be found most satisfactory, as well 
as most economical. 

The use of building paper between the 
outside window casing and the wall 
sheathing, careful fitting of the sheathing 
around the opening and a well made win- 
dow frame would have prevented the 
wind and dust from coming in at the sides 
of the window. See page 44. 

The water stains below the window 
could have been avoided if the construc- 
tion was like that shown in Figure 47 or 
48. Figure 49 shows faulty construction. 


• The method of applying insulating ma- 
terial between the studs is illustrated in 
this drawing. 

The insulating blanket is formed with a 
flange along each edge which laps over 
and is nailed to the studding. A fibre cleat 
is used at top and bottom to attach the 
blanket to headers and plates. A specially 
designed stapling hammer is available for 
speedy installation. 

Several types of good insulation are 
available. The flexible types are easy to 
apply and include a vapor barrier. 

Note how the insulation divides each 
wall compartment into two air spaces, thus 
making it more difficult for heat and cold 
to penetrate the walls. More important 
still, the insulating material itself contains 
innumerable small air cells that further in- 
crease the resistance to the passage of heat 
and cold. 

On the second floor, where the flooring 
and joists make it difficult to fasten se- 
curely the lower ends of the insulation, 
insulating scrap should be packed in, as 
shown, to insure a good joint. 

While this drawing shows the insula- 
tion applied beneath the attic floors, this 
is not the proper application for all cases. 
Where the third floor is to be used for 
living quarters, the insulation should be 
run up the studs, applied either between 
them or nailed to the inside faces and 
over the ceiling joists of the rooms finished 
off. The same principle applies in insulating 
the story-and-a-half house. 

It is apparent from this drawing that the 
construction which makes a house fire-safe 
also makes thorough insulation easier. 



PLASTER is not elastic, and regard- 
less of the type of lath used with it, it will 
crack if there is any decided settlement or 
movement in the framing that holds it. The 
first essential, then, to a successful job of 
plastering is that the frame of the house be 

The lath should be of good quality. A 
space not less than ^-inch and not more 
than Ys -inch should be left between the lath, 
and each lath should be nailed to each stud, 
preferably with 3 -penny wire nails. Joints 
between the lath ends should be broken 
every seventh or eighth lath, and the ends of 
the lath should not be fitted tightly to- 

No joints should occur directly over the 
corner of an opening. Lath should not run 
over or behind any partition; studs or well- 
braced backing strips should be arranged so 
that lath can be firmly nailed at each cor- 
ner. A method of doing this is shown in 
Figure 53. 

Ground strips of substantial material 
should be set straight and firmly nailed 
around all openings; these strips set the 
gauge for the thickness of the plaster. They 
are of assistance in getting a straight wall 
and are also valuable in securing an even, 
straight surface for the trim. Metal corner 
beads should be used on all projecting cor- 
ners. Before the first coat of plaster is applied, 

it is very essential that the lath be wet 
thoroughly; dry lath will absorb the mois- 
ture from the plaster, thus causing the lath 
to swell and hence preventing the plaster 
from setting properly. Many builders pre- 
fer that the lath be green. 

The fourth essential is good plaster, prop- 
erly applied. There are a few points which 
should have special consideration to assure 
a good job. The first coat of plaster should 
be forced between the lath so that when it 
sets it will have formed a "clincher/' This 
coat is usually allowed to dry thoroughly 
before the next one is put on. The wall 
should then be wet down again before the 
application of the second coat. 

A simple understanding of the various 
reasons for cracked plaster in a house will 
go far towards enabling the home-builder 
to protect against it. 


DURING recent years the popularity of 
dry wall coverings in the form of wood 
paneling, decorative insulating boards, ply- 
wood and gypsum board. The use of dry 
interior wall covering eliminates moisture 
in construction and may cut down the time 
of erection from two to four weeks. These 
dry wall finishes should be applied in accord- 
ance with manufacturers' specifications. 

m f^^Wiq.53 


• This shows a method of securing proper 
backing for lath in cases where the inside 
partition joins the outside wall between 
two of the outside wall studs. A lx6-inch 
strip,- known as "backing," is nailed to 
the back side of the end partition stud to 
receive the lath on the outside wall, and 
this is backed and held firmly in place by 
2x4-inch braces placed between the wall 

When the partition runs parallel to the 
ceiling joists, a similar board is placed on 
top of the top plate. The corner post in 
this case is made of three 2x4's, the center 
one being set out far enough to secure a 
good nailing surface for the lath. 


THJtL pleasing appearance of interior 
woodwork and the satisfaction of having it 
"stay put" year in and year out depend so 
largely upon its treatment and the method 
of applying it as to merit consideration here. 
Since the purpose of trim is to beautify, 
it should be well joined and pleasingly and 
appropriately finished. Satisfactory interior 
finish, like good plaster work, starts at the 
foundation footings. Uneven settling, due 
to those structural defects now familiar to 
the reader, is the greatest cause of unsightly 
openings and cracks in woodwork. A good 
job, however, is also dependent on the care 
the material receives before applying and 
the workmanship in placing it. 


INTERIOR trim (including the lumber 
used for base boards, picture and cornice 
mouldings, door and window casings, etc.) 
is seasoned and kiln dried before it leaves 
the factory and should be protected from 
water and moisture until it is in place. It 
should not be allowed to stand out in the 

open after being delivered on the job, nor 
should it be brought into the house until 
after the plaster has dried. If it is allowed 
to absorb moisture, it will swell and warp, 
and if nailed when wet, unsightly cracks 
will develop as it dries out. 

The trim is ordinarily nailed to the fram- 
ing members. In places where there are no 
framing members to take the nails, nailing 
blocks of two-inch lumber are set into the 
walls before they are plastered to provide 
nailing surface for the trim. All trim should 
be well nailed. 

It is especially necessary to have a tight 
joint between the window stool and the sill 
in order to keep rain and cold from enter- 
ing. To effect this tight joint, the under 
side of the stool and the top of the sill, 
where they meet, should have a coating of 
good paint. 


THE care of doors before they are hung 
is just as important as the care of interior 
trim, and the same precautions apply to 
both. Furthermore, if troublesome doors 

• The reader has undoubtedly often noticed unsightly 
cracks between the base shoe and floor or between the base 
shoe and the base board. These cracks are due to shrinkage 
of the floor members or the base board and can be avoided 
if the base shoe is nailed to the sub-floor instead of to the 
base board or finish floor. 

To permit doing this, the finish floor boards should be 
kept the thickness of the base board away from the plas- 
tered wall on all sides of the room. 

Long nails should be used for nailing the base shoe in 
place. The drawing within the large circle shows proper 
placing of finish floor boards at the walls and proper nail- 
ing of base shoe. 



would be avoided, the top and bottom edge 
of each door should receive two coats of 
paint as the doors are hung. This prevents, 
to a large extent, the absorption of moisture 
that otherwise would cause the door to 
swell and bind. 

Veneered doors are not adapted to places 
where they will be entirely exposed to the 


THERE are several points in connection 
with the fitting of window sash that merit 
the attention of the home-builder. Balky 
windows that stick, first on one side and 
then the other, as one tries to open them, 
are often the result of loose fitting and 
present a situation difficult to remedy. 
Properly fitted windows in a new house, 
especially if they are in place during the 
time the plastering is being done, may bind 
a little until after the house has dried out, 
and until the woodwork has had time to 
adjust itself to the atmospheric condition in 
the completed house. If after a few months' 
time they continue to bind, this condition 
can then be quickly eliminated, provided, 
of course, that the construction around the 
window frame is not the cause of the trou- 
ble. Rattling windows are usually due to 
careless fitting of the window stops (the 

narrow strips which hold the lower sash in 
place). These stops should be held in place 
preferably by means of stop screws and 
washers, the holes in the stop being large 
enough to permit adjustment of the stop 
without entirely removing the screws. 

The matter of making casement sash 
weatherproof is also deserving of careful 
attention. Any good builder who has had 
experience with casement sash can give you 
valuable advice on this subject. 

Most of the difficulties may be overcome 
by the use of pre-fitted window units which 
come complete, ready to slip into place. 
These units are chemically treated to pre- 
vent decay. 


AS has been said before, it is best to lay 
sub-floors diagonally. At any rate, the fin- 
ish floor should be laid at an angle to the 
sub-floor and preferably at right angles to 
the joists. This reduces shrinkage to a min- 
imum. Bulges and cracks in floors also 
result from poor nailing and failure to pro- 
vide for floor expansion. Figure 54 shows 
the proper method of laying floors and also 
shows how to make them dust- and dirt- 

• The advantages of tile floors for the bathroom hardly 
need be pointed out. Good tile, properly applied on a 
foundation of sound framing, is essential to satisfactory 
tile -work. 

This picture illustrates one method of securing a sub- 
stantial foundation for tiled floors and walls. The top of 
each joist is beveled off or chamfered. Boards are set 
between the joists, as shown, with a J / 8 -inch space between 
them to allow for swelling. 

This layer of boards should be covered with a good 
grade of waterproof building paper. 

The joists should be braced every six feet with bridging. 
The concrete should be at least 2 l /i inches thick, rein- 
forced with metal lath, and should extend not less than 
Y 4 inch above the tops of the joists, as shown. 

Where the side walls are tiled, headers should be set 
between the studs at intervals of twelve to sixteen inches 
and the concrete base applied over metal lath securely 


• This is the last of the series of illustra- 
tions showing a Balloon Frame house in 
various stages of construction. Other draw- 
ings in this series will be found on pages 
8, 18, 22, 33 and 45. 

After the work mentioned in Figure 50, 
page 45, is finished, the roof boards for the 
main and porch roofs are put on and the 
shingles laid. 

While this is being done, the plumbers 
and heating men are busy installing the 
pipes for this equipment. 

The window and outside door frames are 
then set in, and the balance of the outside 
finish such as base, corner boards, if any, 
and frieze boards and siding are put on. 

The interior of the house is next made 
ready to receive the lath and plaster. This 
includes nailing blocks and backing for lath 

and all interior finish, plaster grounds for 
interior trim, fire-stops between the studs 
and other places not already provided for, 
and insulation between wall studs and ceil- 
ing joists. Lath is then applied after which 
the plastering is done. 

"While the lathers are at work inside, the 
carpenters usually finish up the work on 
the porches. This consists of laying the 
floors, finishing the porch beams, railings, 
columns, lattice work, and putting in the 

After the plastering has thoroughly 
dried, the interior finish lumber is taken 
into the building, filled and stained by the 
painter, and applied by the carpenter. The 
finish floors are laid last. This work com- 
pleted, the trim hardware is put on, and 
finish coats of paint and varnish are ap- 
plied inside and out. 



THE principles of correct construction 
practice apply alike to all houses. The con- 
struction of the framework is practically 
the same, regardless of whether the exterior 
is wood, stucco, or brick veneer. Upon good 
lumber properly used and accurate work- 
manship depends the ultimate success of the 
completed building. The selection of the 
exterior covering of your house will depend 
upon your architectural style. 


LUMBER is available in the form of siding 
cut to various patterns and in several thick- 
nesses and widths. Siding is made in sizes 
ranging from ! / 2 -inch by 4 inches to %-inch 
by 12 inches and is available in the correct 
species at practically any retail lumber yard. 

The proper selection of the kind and grade 
of siding for outside wall covering is im- 
portant. The outside of a house, subjected 
to sun and wind, rain and snow, receives 
its most severe usage. Exterior wood should 
be of a decay-resisting species that will hold 
tight at the joints and will take and hold 
paint. It should be thoroughly seasoned. 
The Weyerhaeuser organization has made 
available siding in the following species: 
Western Red Cedar, Idaho White Pine and 
Ponderosa Pine. The ends of each piece are 
cut perfectly square on precision machines. 
The face is smooth to receive paint. The 
edges are eased to permit better painting and 
insure against slivers during application. 

In applying siding, all joints around win- 
dow frames and corner boards or at mitred 
corners should be carefully fitted. Spliced 

joints should be absolutely tight to prevent 
the infiltration of moisture. 4-Square sid- 
ing has found such universal acceptance 
because the ends are cut square at the mill, 
leaving no hand-fitting to be done on the 
job. No spliced joints in three consecutive 
boards should be directly over each other. 
Proper nailing, with the correct size of 
nail, is important. Nailing should always 
be directly over each stud. The nail heads 
should be set into the wood and the hole 
filled with putty after the first coat of 
paint is applied. 

Siding and all other exposed woodwork 
should be given a coat of paint (called the 
priming coat) as soon as it is in place. If 
it has been rained upon after application, it 
should be permitted to dry out before any 
paint is applied. It is highly important that 
a good grade of paint be used. 




ONLY No. 1 Certigrade Western Red Ce- 
dar Shingles should be used for walls. The 
exposure to the weather in inches should 
not exceed the following: 

of Courses 


Shingle Length in Inches 
16 in. 18 in. 24 in. 




1 1 


""Exposure course must be face nailed. 

Where a wide exposure with a deep 
shadow line is required, the double coursing 
method works admirably. This is accom- 

plished by laying a No. 1 shingle directly 
over a No. 2 or No. 3 grade shingle, face 
nailing each course. Use rust resisting hot 
dipped zinc coated nails or copper nails. 

This method of applying shingles reduces 
the cost of the shingling job materially. 

Edham "Kolorite" Stained Shingles, a 
Weyerhaeuser product, are made entirely 
of selected No. 1 Certigrade Western Red 
Cedar and are treated with enduring stains. 

Kolorite shingles are available in a wide 
variety of attractive colors in all standard 
shingle sizes plus hand split and machine 
rived shakes. They contribute greatly to 
beautiful, long-lived exterior treatments. 


IN the construction of a house, from the 
placing of the foundation footings, to the 
nailing of the last piece of interior trim, 
good workmanship and good materials are 
absolute essentials for a satisfactory job. 

For the sills of a house, or any member 
placed near the ground, only heartwood or 
chemically preserved lumber should be used. 

In. areas where termites are prevalent 
your builder has only to follow the simple 
methods recommended by the United States 
Department of Agriculture and the Fed- 
eral Housing Administration to avoid dam- 

The essential requirements of lumber for 
the framework of a building are strength 
and proper seasoning. With modern lumber 

mills producing lumber in many kinds and 
grades, home builders have a wide variety 
of suitable framing woods from which to 

While some sections of the country have 
local woods from which good house frames 
may be built, the premier framing lumber 
species today are Douglas Fir and West 
Coast Hemlock. 

Douglas Fir is the strongest framing 
wood, pound for pound, on the market. 
It is easily dried, and because of the enor- 
mous size of the logs, the amount of sap- 
wood in that portion of the log used for 
framing is small. Douglas Fir machines well, 
does not warp or twist, and has little ten- 
dency to check or split when properly dried. 





To say that the fine old houses of our 
country, many having served as homes for 
hundreds of years, were properly engineered, 
may sound trite, but this is the fact. The 
artisans who built them, many of whom 
were ships' carpenters, followed sound engi- 
neering principles and while they may not 
have known it, they were leaving for us a 
priceless heritage of building artistry in de- 
sign, sound construction, lasting value and a 
demonstration of the correct use of building 

The fine examples of the builder's art, ex- 
pressed in a new method of house construc- 

tion, were among the dozens of new things 
taking shape in the new country. New modes 
of living, new methods of self government, 
new patterns in the arts were in the process 
of development. These new principles of 
house construction were possible because 
here, wood was plentiful, here the right 
species for each use was available at low cost 
and what examples of good building they 
left as a monument to themselves and to 
their craft! 

It was in 18 54 that house building as we 
now know it was first used. No one knows 
who was the first builder to employ the mod- 


ern method of using joists, studs and rafters 
in house construction but we do know that 
the methods in use today are the result of 
countless hours of thought and the applica- 
tion of sound engineering principles to the 
task of building a house that will stand 
against the rigors of time at a cost com- 
mensurate with best values. 

Since the making of lumber is carried on 
by one of the most progressive industries in 
the country, refinements in manufacture 
and advancements in its use followed as a 
natural sequence. Constant improvements 
were being made such as square cutting to 
exact length, end-matching, improved sea- 
soning, better surfacing and even more exact 
standards of manufacture gave further im- 
petus to more and better building. This im- 
proved lumber lent itself ideally to the new 
and latest framing method called "platform 
or western framing" and the use of exact 
length studs, joists and other framing mem- 
bers contributed toward a reduction in house 
building costs and still gave sound long-lived 
buildings to the smartest of all home build- 
ers, the American citizen. 

As in all basic industries, methods change 
often — principles seldom. On the following 
pages examples of time-proven, correctly 
engineered principles of sound building are 
given to illustrate this fact. The Weyer- 
haeuser organization has always promoted 
good construction and made available in- 
formation relating to the correct use of the 
products of their sawmills. In the drawings 
which follow there is a background of prov- 
en worth, along with the latest develop- 
ments in the production of good homes built 
of lumber. 

In house building, as in anything else, good 
materials are essential to good finished prod- 
ucts. Remember that good craftsmanship 
alone will not give you a good house. Look 
well to the matter of lumber in your house. 
There is a correct species for each house 
building use. See that the lumber you use is 
properly seasoned. Unseasoned joists, studs, 
sills, plates, sheathing and framing may mean 
unnecessary shrinkage and settlement as the 
house dries out; plaster cracks, sticking doors 
and windows may develop, causing irritation 
and expense. 




Gravel or 
cinder fill 

3 /4 Iron Dowel 
or Rod 



Drain tile 


Girder box ("air space 

Bevel end 

Ha.rd brick 
or bearing 




Sole plate 


2x4 Studs 




2x4 Studs -^f*>, 


''Anchor bolt 
Foundation wall 







The size of footing for a 
wall depends upon the load 
it must carry and the soil 
upon which it rests. See table 
at the end of this section for 
further information on foot- 


The chart on the last page 
of this section gives pertinent 
information on this impor- 
tant part of any house. 



A girder end should be al- 
lowed to breathe. Joints in 
built-up girders should be 
made over girder posts. 


A popular type of sill con- 
struction, especially in areas 
where high winds occur. 



This type of sill is used ex- 
tensively in areas where low 
winter temperatures prevail 
because it makes for warmer 
construction. Not recom- 
mended for moist climates. 


Developed for the use of 
the builder who wishes his 
house as close to the grade as 
possible. Watch girder and 
bearing partition with this 
construction, so unequal 
shrinkage or settlement does 
not occur. 


This type of sill construc- 
tion, used by the early build- 
ers, is still favored in many 
parts of the country. 




Joists should lap the full 
width of girder and be nailed 
with three 16d nails. 


Where extra loads are 
placed on joists, double head- 
ers and trimmers should be 
accurately fitted and secure- 
ly nailed in place. Trimmers 
and headers around chimneys 
and hearths should be set 2 
inches from the face of ma- 


Metal joist hangers should 
be used on all headers more 
than 3 feet 6 inches in length. 


A 2x4 ledger should be se- 
curely nailed to the double 
joists to receive notches in 
cantilever joists used to sup- 
port the overhang. "Where the 
overhang is opposite the joists, 
regular joists should extend 
beyond the wall the required 


Cap and tie plates should 
be used for all exterior walls 
and the corners lapped and 
nailed with three 16d nails as 
shown in the illustration. 



|fL-Studs Girder 



Floor joist 


FIG. E10: 

OVERHANG ^/hen overhang 
is parallel to joists. 

Corner post 




E.nd matched 

FIG. El 2: 


Outside wall studs 

FIG. El 3: 





floor joists 

Lathing board 



Sole plate 

FIG. E14: 



Double joists 
under partitions 

FIG. El 5-^ 



There are a number of 
good methods of building 
corner posts. Any one of 
those shown at the left will 
serve admirably. 


Accurately fitted door and 
window framing is a sign of 
careful building. 


Where wide openings occur 
in the framing, extreme care 
should be taken in header con- 
struction since much of the 
load above must be carried 
on these members. The illus- 
tration shows one good meth- 
od. Note carefully the accur- 
ately fitted diagonal members. 


Double joists with solid 
bridging 18 in. o.c. should be 
used under non-bearing par- 
titions because of the addi- 
tional weight of the partition 
itself. For spans more than 
10 ft., tripled joists should be 




Interior door frames or 
jambs should be set plumb 
and square by the use of 
wedges. Low-grade shingles 
serve admirably for this pur- 
pose. Care should be exercised 
to see that the wedges come 
behind the jamb where hinges 
are placed. 



Where cut-in bracing is 
used to secure rigidity, it is of 
vital importance that the cuts 
be accurate and nailing ade- 
quate. Where blanket insula- 
tion is used, it is a good plan 
to turn the 2x4 stock side- 
wise to allow the insulation 
to pass the bracing, thus elim- 
inating fitting at numerous 



In stud partitions it is a 
simple matter to insert head- 
ers or nailing strips between 
the studs to act as nailing 
grounds. For masonry or plas- 
tered walls, the walls should 
be furred; the furring strips 
properly secured to the wall 
for application of wall panels. 
Where wood paneling is used 
against masonry, it is highly 
important that the back be 
thoroughly painted to exclude 

Double studs 




FIG. E17: 


2x4- Cut. between studs 
Sheathing applied horizontally 




rid^fc flashing 


Valley flashing) 
£d£e crimp^ \ / 5pb,sh rib 


FIG. E26: O 




Where Boston style ridge is 
used, continuous flashing un- 
der the shingles is of impor- 
tance because of the difficulty 
of maintaining a watertight 
joint at the peak. Notice in 
the illustration how the laced 
corner method is employed in 
this type of ridge. 


The same method of apply- 
ing Boston style hip shingles 
as is used on the ridge is rec- 
ommended. Flashing of cop- 
per or galvanized iron should 
extend to almost the edge of 
the shingles. 



A shingle roof is as good as 
its valley flashing. The width 
of the flashing depends upon 
the slope of the roof, and high- 
grade zinc coated iron or cop- 

per should 

be used for this 



On small houses, it is good 
practice to use metal shingles 
as hip covering. Metal hip 
shingles are copper or galvan- 
ized iron sheets 5x9 in., the 
lower corner of which is 
crimped to slip under the shin- 
gles themselves. Application 
of metal hip shingles should 
be made after the shingles 
have been laid so that a 
straight line can be secured. 


Dormers, which add much 
to the appearance of many 
houses, should give no con- 
struction problem if flashing 
at the roof and sides is done 
in accordance with the illus- 
tration. Galvanized iron or 
copper flashing should be used 
for this purpose. 





Where a chimney extends 
through a continuous roof, a 
chimney cricket or chimney 
saddle should be used. This 
prevents moisture and snow 
from collecting behind the 



Utmost care should always 
be taken in flashing the head 
of door and window frames. 
Where galvanized iron is used, 
it should be painted before ap- 
plication of siding or shingles 
and should fit the drip cap 
closely. Flashing should ex- 
tend above the drip cap at 
least 5 inches. 


A continuous metal strip 
bent at an angle as shown in 
the illustration and placed in 
the damp concrete will do 
much to prevent cracks oc- 
curring where masonry and 
wood join. The flashing should 
extend 8 inches above the 


Wood gutters are available 
in a variety of pleasing archi- 
tectural designs. Besides their 
extreme utility, their life is 
much longer than any other 
type of eavestrough, especial- 
ly in areas where smoke or 
fumes are present in the at- 
mosphere. Their installation 
is simple and no wood is su- 
perior to V.G. Douglas Fir 
for this important item in 
house construction. 

\ / 
V, Building paper, 

5 idin£> 


eta.1 ca/ered 

cricket flishinjb 

'extends up under 

. shingles at least 

/ six inches. Turned 

f? up against chimney 

and counterf lashed. 


meta.1 strip 

Cone. Sla.b \*> 
Mesh reinforcinjb 

Foundation § 


—\ \> ' ' 

3x5 Crown Moulding 

3x4 Standard 

4x6 Crown Moulding 

FIG. E32: 

4x6 Standard 



1x6 to 1x12 


1x4 to 1x12 




Interesting patterns of well 
machined and properly dried 
stock arc available in many 
species. At the left are shown 
a number of details suitable 
for many uses. The interest- 
ing shadow lines arc obtained 
by running mouldings in con- 
tinuous strips to be inserted 
between the various patterns 
of the panels themset"es. 


1x4 to 1x12 

%x4 to %*& 



Douglas Fir Gutter is avail- 
able in lengths up to 40 ft., 
but where a splice is necessary, 
the illustration at the left in- 
dicates a satisfactory way of 
securing a tight joint as well 
as a strong and rigid one. 

1x4 to 1x12 


I'll 1 End block 

FIG. E3 5: 


,Fl&n$e end 
S of Sleeve 

White lea.d 
in aJI joints 

Hole thru Gutter. 

Chamfer for ca^ulkin^ 

2" # D F.H. Set joint in /\ 

Brass screws vhite leB.d 

5et joint in 
white lead 

Mitered Corner or return 


Where rectangular metal 
downspouts are used in com- 
bination with wood gutter, a 
small sleeve is recommended. 
This sleeve is fitted into the 
gutter and the downspout 
slipped into it. 

FIG. E3 6-E37: EAVES- 

Brass screws arc recom- 
mended to securely hold the 
corner of wood gutters where 
they join at an interior or ex- 
terior corner. Small blocks 
should be fastened to the gut- 
ter to carry it away from the 
cornice, thus allowing space 
for overflow. 




GENERAL. These tables and explanations are con- 
densed from the following authoritative technical 

"Wood Structural Design Data" — National Lum- 
ber Manufacturers Assn. "Douglas Fir Use Book" — 
West Coast Lumbermen's Assn. "Light Frame House 
Construction" — National Committee on Wood Utili- 
zation, U. S. Dept. of Commerce. 

This information is intended to assist in the selec- 
tion of proper sizes of wood structural members for 
the average-sized house. Their use is not recommend- 
ed for the design of larger buildings because so many 
factors enter into such a design that it is advisable to 
refer them to a competent engineer. 

The calculations are based on the following work- 
ing stresses: 

Extreme fibre stress in bending... 1450 lbs. per sq. in. 

Maximum horizontal shear 120 lbs. per sq. in. 

Modulus of elasticity 1,600,000 lbs. per sq. in. 

Compression across grain 390 lbs. per sq. in. 

Plaster spans are limited to a maximum deflection 
of 1/3 60 of the span length. This is the limit usually 
chosen in order to prevent cracking, where ceilings 
are covered with some hard inelastic material such as 

Non-plastered spans of joist and rafter tables are 
maximum safe spans and may be used where deflec- 
tion is not objectionable. 

Compensation for structural differences must be 
made when other working stresses are used. When 
solid girders are used, they should be of old growth 
material and be free of heart centers. 

Fie, A 

Shov/ing rafter span as 
actual length between 
wall plate and ridge. 

The size of roof rafters will depend upon three factors: 

1. The span — actual length of the rafter between the plate and the ridge or 
: an intermediate support. 

2. The weight of roofing material. 

3. The snow and wind loads (live loads). 

The table on the following page lists maximum safe spans for 2x4s, 2x6s 
and 2x8s under various loads for open attics (unplastered) and also in cases where 
plaster is applied to the rafters. Loads are considered as acting. normal to surface. 

Note that the calculations provide for a wood shingle roof. Heavier roofing 
materials require additional strength to support them. 


Live load on roof = Local raauireme-rrrs for wind <$. sno\v.(Usuatly 30lbs.persq, ft.) 
Pead load of roof of wood shingle construct ion = lO lbs. per sq. ft. 

live load on Attic Boor, = Local requiremeo+sdlsually 20 Ibs/saft w { wn used f 7 r ) 
Dead load of Attic Floor, not floored- fO Ibs.per sq.ft. s+ora 9 e only ; 

Dead load of Attic Floor when floored = 20 lbs. per sq.ft. (Storage space) 
Dead load of Parti tions = 20 I bs. per sq.ft. of floor area. 
Live load on Second f bor » Local requirements.(U5ually40tbs.perscj.ft.) 

(Dead load on -Second floor • 2o lbs. per sq.ft. 

jDead load of Partitions -20 lbs. per sq.ft. of fbor area. 
{Live load on First Floor= Local requirements .(Usually 40lbs.per sq.ft.) 
Dead load of First Floor, ceiling not plastered = lO lbs per sq.ft. 
Dead load of First Floor, ceiling plastered * 20 lbs. per sq.ft. 



Pla*n of Floor Framing 
showing + he 
"Girder Loa.d Area,'! 




Span Calculations provide for carrying the 
live loads shown a.nd the additions! weight 
of the raiters, sheathing and wood shinales 

JOISTS. The table shows the maximum safe span for 
joists under various live loads with plastered and un- 
plastered ceilings below. It is only necessary to know the 
span, the live load (local codes or practice, usually 40 
pounds per square foot) and whether or not the ceiling 
below is plastered, in order to select the proper sizes of 
joists for ordinary loading conditions. 

POSTS. For ordinary posts (not longer than 
9'-0" or smaller than 6" x 6") it will be safe 
to assume that a post whose greatest dimension 
is equal to the width of the girder it has to 
support, will carry the girder load. Thus, for 
a girder 6" wide, use 6" x 6" posts: for a 
girder 8" wide, use 6" x 8" or 8" x 8" posts, 

GIRDERS. To determine the size of a girder it is neces- 
sary to: (1) Find the distance between girder supports 
(span). (2) Find the "girder load width." A girder must 
carry the weight of the floors on each side to the mid- 
point of the joists which rest upon it. (3) Find the "total 
floor load" per square feet carried by the joists and bear- 
ing partitions to the girder. This will be the sum of the 
loads per square foot listed in the diagram on page 65 
with the exception of the roof loads, which are carried on 
the outside walls unless braces or partitions are placed 
under the rafters, in which case a portion of the roof 
load is carried to the girder via joists and partitions. 
(4) Find the total load on the girder. This is the product 
of: (a) "girder span," (b) "girder load width," (c) 
"total floor load." (5) Select proper size of girder from 
the table shown below which indicates safe loads on stand- 
ard size girders for spans from 6' to 10'. Shortening the 
span is usually the most economical way to increase the 
load that a girder will carry. 

SPECIAL CASES. Such as: continuous joists, concentrated 
loads caused by framing one girder into another or by 
bearing partitions at right angles to a girder, etc., are 
not usual in smaller house construction and are not con- 
sidered here. 


Safe Load in lbs. for 
Spans ■from Q> to 10 feet. 


G ft. 

7 ft. 

8 ft. 

9 ft 

10 ft. 

G x 6 solid 

8, 306 

7.1 1 8 

6,2 20 



G x 8 built up 



5.51 1 



Sk|0 solid 

1 1.357 





G>*IO builtup 






8«6 solid 

1 1, 326 




&,<2 50 

8*8 built up 

9, S 1*2 


7 348 


5,4 16 

8 "10 solid 


14,7 32 


12. 1 1 <b 

1 0, 902 

6*10 built up 


1 2,768 


10, 504 



L.L I 30** Live Load 









Span Calculations provide for carrying the. live, loads shown 
and the, additional weight of the, Joists and double flooring. 















Plaster Clg. 

Plaster Clg. |No Plaster 

8' 8" 



6'- II' 

13'- 3' 

12'- f 

IP'- 8" 


16- 0" 


2 1'- II' 




24'- 3' 

2 I'- 6' 


IS -6" 

25 -O 

40 tt Live. Load 

Plaster Clg. 



13- 1 1 


19'- 2' 


1 5'- 6' 

23'- Q 


18'- 8' 


16- I' 



2Q'- 3' 

12- II 

IP'- 6' 

19'- 7 

iT- r 

14'- 2' 

,24-'- 6' 

21 - a 

17'- IP" 

29'- 4-" 

25'- IP" 

IV- S 

24'- 3' 



3Q'- 2' 

26'- 6" 

17- IT 

22'- 3 1 

No Plaster 

io'- a" 

9'- b' 

8 '-6' 

14- r 
12'- ir 


16'- 3' 

14'- 3" 

21'- 4' 



1 4-'- 1 1 * 

13'- 2" 

20 -6\ 


IS-7 - 

13'- •Z" 


50* Live Load 

Plaster Clg. 

No Plaster 

60* Live Load 

Plaster Clg. 

No Plaster 



15'- 3" 

12'- 6'' 

21'- IO' 

1 9'- 2" 


26'- 3' 

21'- a - 

23'- 1 0" 


13'- 3 

1 6'- 8" 

15'- 3" 

13'- 5" 

20'- 1" 

18'- 5' 


1 5 -4-" 

14'- I" 

1 2'- 4" 

19'- 3" 

17- 6" 


8'- 7' 

13'- IO" 

II'- 4" 


IT- 5" 

14-'- 4" 

24'- O' 



19'- IP" 

17'- 4" 

1 4-' -4" 

24'- IP 1 

21'- 9" 



12'- 7- 

II'- 5' 


l5'-lo J 

1 4'- 6" 

12'- 8" 

19- I 

IT- 5" 

IS'- 4' 

14-'- 7' 

13'- 4° 



18'- r 14'- 1 o' 

II- 1 • 



14'- 8" 

12'- 9" 


16'- r 

13'- 3" 

22'- 2' 

1 9'- 5' 

16- O' 

16'- 4' 


13'- 3" 

23'- o" 

2Q - 2 

16'- 8' 




Conforming with the recommendations of the Lumber Industry as 
set forth in Simplified Practice Recommendations No. 16-53 published 
by the United States Department of Commerce. 




Nominal Size 

Actual Size S4S 
At Comm. Dry Slip. We. 









2 in. 
2 in. 

2 in. 
2 in. 
2 in. 

4 in. 
4 in. 

-; in. 

4 in. 

6 in. 

8 in, 
10 in. 
12 in. 

6 in. 

8 in. 
10 in. 

1 s / s in. 
1 Va in. 
1 Y% in. 
1 y s in. 
1 y a in. 
3 is in. 
3 5 $ in. 
3 5 s in. 

3 V& in. 
S/i in. 
7</z in- 
9 ■/> in. 
1 1 \A in. 
J Vz in. 
7J4 in. 
9 Vz in. 


6 in. 
6 in. 
6 in. 

8 in. 
8 in. 

6 in. 
S in. 

10 in. 

S in. 

10 in. 

5 Vz in. 
5 Vz in. 

5 Vz in. 
7\z in. 
7'/. in. 

S ^2 in. 
7/, in. 
9^2 in. 
7 Vi in. 
9J4 in. 


1 m. 
1 in. 
1 in. 
1 in. 
1 in. 

4 in. 
6 in. 

5 in. 
10 in. 
12 in. 

all in. 
't'l in. 
Hi- in. 
Wz in. 
.11' in. 

3 5s in. 

J/ 2 in. 

7JA in. 

9Vz in. 

1 1 Vz in- 


I in. 

! i n. 
1 in. 
1 in. 
1 in. 

4 in. 
6 in. 

5 in. 
10 in. 
12 in. 

fiii in. 
.ll! in. 

if !"■ 

■az in. 
ft-i in. 

3 J/g in. face 
5 '/s in. face 
7 ^s in. face 
9 l /a in. face 
1 1 J g in. face 




1 in. 
1 in. 
1 in. 
1 in. 
1 in. 

4 in. 
6 in. 
8 in. 

10 in. 
12 in. 

Sa in. 

~:z in. 
fill in. 
TiL' in. 
:1 ■_• in. 

3 J/ 4 in. face 
5 TTT in. face 
7 in. face 
9 in. face 
1 1 in. face 






Safe Load 
Lbs. Sq. Ft. 

Soft, wet clay or soft clay and wet 


sand mixed 

Sand and clay — Firm clay or wet sand 


Dry solid clay or firm dry sand 


Hard clay — Firm coarse sand — Gravel 


Firm coarse sand and gravel mixed 


Hard Pan 



S2S Surfaced two sides 

S4S Surfaced four sides 

DB2S Double beaded two sides 

DV2S _ Double V two sides 

DBIS Double bead one side 

DV1S... __ Double V one side 

T&G Tongue and grooved 

EM _ End Matched 

IWP Idaho White Pine 

PP or Pond. Pine - Ponderosa Pine 

D. F. .Douglas Fir 

W" C Hem. West Coast Hemlock 

W R Cedar Western Red Cedar 

SJSN1E Surfaced three sides nosed one edge 

VG _ Vertical Grain 

FG ____ Flat Grain 

MG Mixed Grain 

Jointed Square edge (S4S) 

Sel. Merch. Select Merchantable 

O. C. (o. c.) On Center 

S2S & CM... Surface 2 Sides and Center Matched 

Ship. Shiplap 

D&M ...Dressed & Matched (Tongue & Groove) 

Sup. Supreme 

Ch Choice 

Qual. Quality 

Col. Colonial 

Str Sterling 

Std. . Standard 

UtI. Utility 

B&Btr B and Better 

VCV2S V and Center V Two Sides 

BCB2S Bead and Center Bead Two Sides 

Clr Clear 

Sel. Select 

Hdw. Pat. Hardwood Pattern 

Spcl. Pat Special Pattern 




! ilUl JLi^ live in a house. They work in it — relax in it. In their home they rear their 
children, entertain their guests. With so much living going on, they concern themselves first with 
getting a convenient home. And out of their experiences with houses, they check their requirements 
to make certain that their home will insure maximum convenience, comfort and satisfaction. 



STORAGE SPACE — Adequate storage space 
makes housekeeping easier — keeps rooms from being 
cluttered — makes them restful. Make sure of adequate 
storage space. 

Bedroom Closets Kitchen Closet Vegetable Storage 

Linen Closets Laundry Storage Kitchen Cabinet 

Front Hall Closet Garage Storage Attic Storage Space 

Rear Hall Closet Space Medicine Cabinet 

S I AIRS —DOORS — Doors and stairs are tremen- 
dously important items — particularly when things are 
moved up and down and through them. Doors and stairs 
should be wide enough to permit movement of furniture 
without scarring casements and walls. Stairs should 
have ample headroom, good width and easy rise, not 
too sharp. Doors should be of proper width and properly 

QUICK ACCESS — to various parts of the house 
— from the kitchen to front door — from back door to 
basement without going through kitchen — from kitchen 
to front door and telephone. 

I RIVACY — is so desirable — should be obtained 
wherever possible. Have the front door open into a 
vestibule. Obtain a separation of living quarters from 
sleeping quarters — and utmost bathroom privacy. Plan 
to keep cooking odors from other rooms. 

K.I 1 CHEN— is the workshop of the home — check 
for the best natural light over sink and work tables — 
and good artificial light; enough electrical outlets for 
kitchen appliances; arrangement of wall space to provide 
for appliances and tools. 

ELECTRICAL OUTLETS-In an electrical 
age make sure the wiring will take care of present and 
future requirements. Outlets are not expensive. See 
that they are provided in every room in the house. 
Today toasters are used in kitchen, dining and living 
rooms for buffet luncheons. Radio outlets in bedrooms. 
Outlets in every room for fans, vacuum cleaners. 

ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING- 3-way switches 
for lights into basement and second floor. Switches near 
doors in all rooms — low in bathroom for child's con- 
venience. The kitchen needs concentrated lights — and 
dining room a central light. In living room wall brackets 
and floor lamps are usually used. 

VENTILATION— Cross ventilation in bed- 
rooms is valuable. If possible have it. Adequate ven- 
tilation in the kitchen is important. Kitchen windows 
should be of a good size. 

HEA I ING— Insist on economical heating through 
good construction, insulation, weather-stripping, tight 
doors and windows. Get a bathroom that's easily heated. 

WALL SI ACE— Don't accept cut up wall space. 
Insist on adequate walls for proper furniture arrange- 

Here is a basic check-list of convenience features. There 
are probably several more that you can add to this list. 
Obviously no one house can contain all these features — 
and the size of the home and the size of the family will 
determine the need and economy of including them. 





CORRECT OJbolCjN obtains economy of construc- 
tion by a maximum use of standard materials, such as: 
standard millwork including windows, doors, inside trim, 
cabinet work, cupboards, kitchen cabinets, etc.; standard 
plumbing and heating plants; bathroom fixtures; light fix- 
tures; hardware; standard 4-Square Lumber which fits into 
good design with the least amount of re-working on the job 
because it is precision manufactured and "ready-to-use," 
properly seasoned and available in the correct species for 
every construction requirement. 


The experienced, skillful architect looks ahead. He plans for 
the future as well as the present. He knows how to build a 
house that will permit people to live in it, with low upkeep 
and maintenance costs. 

To reduce heating costs he specifies adequate insulation, tight 
doors and windows, good weather-stripping. He plans a 
room layout that can be heated economically. From his 
experience he knows that unnecessary repairs can be avoided 
by planning for good construction and the use of the correct 
species of properly seasoned, standard precision lumber. 


A point to consider in building a home is its eventual resale 
value. There is nothing that impresses a buyer so quickly 
as the outside appearance of a house. The Truly Modern 
Home avoids "jaddy" designs and freakish architecture. 
Prevailing "style" epidemics permanently date a house. 

High resale value is furthered by authentic architectural 
design. Such design is of sound and enduring value. Its 
beauty of line and acknowledged good taste always receive 
quick public acceptance. 


LUMBER . . . 

The Ever Modern Building Material Reaches New High Standards 
in Sound Construction and Economical Service! 

GREAT PROGRESS has been made with 
lumber — in its manufacture and in its use. From 
a rough building staple, produced by rule of 
thumb, lumber has become a refined, ready-to- 
use building material. The engineer and the 
laboratory with the assistance of modern, efficient 
manufacturing methods and precision 
machinery have given to lumber many 
attributes of more desirable utility. 

THE RESEARCH and technical divisions 
of Weyerhaeuser are constantly seeking new 
ways of stepping up lumber performance. 
Their contributions are doing much toward 
helping America secure finer, more service- 
able, modern structures. 

NEW forest growth provides a supply 
of material which, with care, can be 
made continuous. Our forests differ from 
other great natural resources in that they 
are constantly replenished. With protec- 
tion from fire, young trees spring up 
naturally as mature ones are harvested. 







Randall Ave. BOOTHWYN, PA. 

Phones Chester 5-2218 or Holly Oak 8-7530 
"There's a MATERIAL difference" 

FS-1R 10M 12-54